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Electric Wizard - 'Black Masses' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/19/11/67/1220_ElectricWizardBlackMasses_1304807442.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     May 07, 2011    
 
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Not a release for the faint hearted.

You could be forgiven for thinking Electric Wizard's brand of stoner doom is an acquired taste and past releases would testify to this. With 'Black Masses' the band has probably put together their most accessible release to date, nudging themselves closer to the likes of Monster Magnet and Cathedral is a good move. That's not to say the band have gone all commercial on us, album title-track 'Black Masses' is an unforgiving juggernaut of Sabbath inspired riffs with a chorus sounding like a pagan chant in a forest.

Kicking off with an intro like a gothic horror soundtrack, 'Venus in Furs'' sense of foreboding gives a dramatic feel to the riffs as the vocals almost sound buried like a cry from the grave. The band has always possessed an ability to give off a smoke filled atmosphere to the darker sides of life and this is a wonderful example. 'The Nightchild's super depressive guitar work sounds like darkness descending over a graveyard while the screams of the undead awaken in a guitar solo screeching from the depths of hell. It's classic stoner but with a macabre touch.

If like me you're a fan of early Hawkwind then 'Turn off Your Mind' will bring back memories of the band during their 'In Search of Space' period. It's a mixture of space age horror and punk attitude as the song descends into a psychedelic soup clocking in at nearly 6 minutes! There's a nice guitar refrain in 'Scorpio Curse' that keeps the song sailing along nicely with the lyrics depicting an apocalyptic world of dismay ruled by the guardians of darkness, all very dramatic but when executed with such conviction you cannot help but be seduced.

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Bringing things to a close, the wonderfully titled 'Crypt Of Drugula' begins with the sound of thunder and a faint drum beat like someone knocking nails into a coffin. The bass and guitar sound like a faint echo that keeps a funeral pace with this atmospheric piece. With no lyrics it's purely an indulgent moment of doom to set an atmosphere of darkened forces, and surprisingly it works to great effect.

Much like Danzig's recent release this is the sound of a band finding their mojo again and exorcising it for public consumption, not a release for the faint hearted. You have been warned!

Ray Paul


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