|Wizard Bloody Wizard
A blurry figure of a satyr, smoking weed. "Dopethrone”", in other words a gigantic monument to alienation, one of the most morbid albums ever conceived; and even though sempiternal monoliths like "Funeralopolis" and "We Hate You" haven't aged a single day, already seventeen years have passed since then, and a lot of things have changed. Five albums, ranging from great ("Let Us Pray") to astonishing ("Witchcult Today", "Black Masses"), and a newfound awareness that listening to a new Electric Wizard album is always a hallucinated trip between the bends of a mephitic darkness, in which we feel at home by now. Everything sounded beautiful and reassuring, at least until present day.
"Wizard Bloody Wizard" is the title of the British quartet's latest effort: something that didn't take too much effort anyway or, at least, this is the feeling that we get by listening to pieces like "Necromania" and "Hear The Sirens Scream". Unbelievably, Jus Oborn and friends took a long shower and washed away that coat made of decomposition and cannabinoids that covered them during the last twenty years, something good for them, sure, but a bit less good for us listeners, because the kiss-ass, ordinary Seventies rock that is presented to us is too much linear and clear, lacking any sort of shake and anything but convincing.
One listening session after the other, it sounds like that our chaps unfortunately stopped killing themselves with joints and acids, switching those substances with good amounts of sleeping pills: the result is the total loss of that priceless stench of spiritual putrefaction that enclosed their previous works, and where blasphemous invocation of the past opened portals and let torrents of inebriating, pestilential sewage flow out, now there are just kids with lit candles playing and scaring themselves with horror stories.
This album almost seems like a bad joke and embarrassing moments like "Wicked Caresses" reiterate the parody-like feeling that hovers above the whole opus, as Electric Wizard try, without any luck, to emulate themselves, in the same manner as a bunch of kids try to cover their favourite band's songs. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying they lack technical skills, it's just not biting, the sound is way too clean and deprived of all those distortions, as greasy and dense as a poisonous lava flow.
The general impression is that the Englishmen don't take inspiration anymore from a world made of unholy necromantic rituals, of nuclear warheads ready to turn humanity into a horde of zombies, of demonical trips, ancient infernal horrors and occult intercourse, but that they process those same topics with carelessness, to maintain a status rather than following a proper creative impulse.
To be fair, we must admit that "The Reaper" represents an exciting moment, when the rarefied and slightly exotic atmosphere brings back to mind some obscure spurts from glorious times in the last decade, but just a bit more than three minutes aren't really enough to save a colourless and flat album, to say the least. Of course, no one could say this is a badly played album: psychedelia is there, the Seventies are there, as well as the vintage attitude and lysergic style, but the real problem is that all these things fit Electric Wizard to a certain degree. Or, better, they would fit perfectly if they would have been expressed according to their classic trademark, but in this form they just sound bland, weak and out of date.
This time, the ritual didn't end well and instead of the usual platoon of undead, heinous abominations, only an old and dusty skeleton was awakened, one that is not even able to harm a fly. Could it be that the Wizard found himself victim of his own sorcery? The only certainty is that the enormous power he showed before is now lost, and if he hopes to gather once again his followers he must try with a greater spell, because as of now all he can hope is to frighten some far-from-puberty, little altar boys.