Released: 2007, Rise Above Records
Long-doping Dorset doomsters Electric Wizard have been quite prolific since the turn of the century. After gracing us with only 2 albums in the ‘90s, their latest, WITCHCULT TODAY marks the fourth album here in the ‘00s. Depending on where you sit, this is either a great thing, or yet another ear sore to be avoided. See, Electric Wizard is one of those bands that people love or hate. Of all the reviews I’ve seen for their albums, they vary wildly from fawning, trip over yourself praise to absolute venom-spewing burials.
The thing with Electric Wizard is that they play ultra-heavy, ultra-fuzzy old-school doom/stoner metal, with nary an advancement or new idea in sight. For those pining for the old ways, this is a great thing. For example, one listen to the catchy Sabbatherian riff of “Dunwich” will have you banging your head in stoner bliss. The guitars grind beautifully and leader Jus Oborn’s vocals are equally despondent and Ozzy-like. The menacingly heavy “Satanic Rites of Drugula” is best song on the album, crushing all comers in its wake.
In fact, the whole album rolls along like a great acid trip until we get to the ponderously titled “Black Magic Rituals & Perversions...”, which hits, for me, the great speed bump of stoner music: the long aimless jam. I can’t stand it when bands become fascinated with a riff and feel the need to pound it into the ground for minutes on end in some vain attempt to create “atmosphere” or some such nonsense. This goes on for four and a half minutes...and then we get to the really boring part, which is another six or so minutes of worthless feedback accompanied by backwards spoken vocals. Ya-friggin-wn. I have never understood why bands do this and I probably never will. There are a few similar passages throughout the album but this is the most glaring offender.
Flaws aside, WITCHCULT TODAY is a great slice of stoner metal that would probably earn a few more points from those that don’t mind all the musical dicking around. Seek and smoke.