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Released: 2016, Ripple Music
With a well-regarded EP released in 2013, California’s Red Wizard (that name just tickles my inner geek!), are poised to make a big splash in the heavy stoner/doom scene with their debut full-length, COSMOSIS. These young lads take their cues from classic ’70s doom metal, the most obvious touchpoint being Black Sabbath.
That said, COSMOSIS is an album with identity all its own. Swirling, heavy riffs swathed in fuzz are the band’s bread & butter, topped off with a refreshing bellow from vocalist Travis Baucum, who shows off several different styles throughout the album. Opening cut “Tides of War” is a stop/start bringer of thunder that immediately transports you into the band’s manic world. Weed eaters and smoke heads will be heaven; this is heavy, oppressive music.
“Temples of Tinnitus” (ha!) and “Blinded” continue the assault before the band breaks the album wide open with the cosmic, meandering, atmospheric title track. It’s 10-minute bulk is certainly a tough nut to crack, and its many excellent sections are somewhat subdued by the musical wanderings. It’s exactly the type of malevolent journey that you’d expect the leering character adorning the awesome cover art to take you on.
All is forgiven come “The Red Wizard Suite”, which re-energizes band and listener with some of the heaviest pieces on the album. There’s nothing like a good headbang to leave you with a good impression of an album!
I’ve already read some reviews of this that hail it as the second coming of all things doom metal, and while I don’t necessarily agree, COSMOSIS is definitely a formidable release. The band’s ace in the hole is the fact that they’re not afraid to just throw out the rulebook and simply rock out when the mood strikes them. It’s this musical abandon that helps the band break up the monotony and inject personality and fun into their sound.
All told, Red Wizard has come up with a winner here. They’re still a young band with room to grow, but COSMOSIS shows that they are already prepared to battle with the best and come out on top.
1. Tides of War
2. The Temples of Tinnitus
5. The Red Wizard Suite I
6. The Red Wizards Suite II
7. The Red Wizard Suite III
Travis Baucum: Vocals
Miles Ricketson: Guitar
Casey Lamontagne: Guitar
David Wilburn: Bass
Shane Kepler: Drums
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