However, the cartoonish dragon (or seahorse, as some have speculated) and fairies are an accurate portrayal of Electric Wizard’s first album. It’s a drug-influenced spectacle of sight and sound, as the band takes a few big hits of the green stuff and gets lost in their own trippy world. There’s no need to follow suit, as whether one is under the influence of not, the band lets out enough smoke to get a second hand high.
The lyrics balance out the music, which is the type of stoner-esque doom that bands like Sleep were knocking out during the mid-'90s. This is the first of four albums with the trio of vocalist/guitarist Jus Oborn, bassist Tim Bagshaw, and drummer Mark Greening. It was a combination that gelled well and was able to perform atmospheric instrumentals like “Mountains Of Mars” with an ear for melody.
These songs are long, very subdued in tempo, and forced upon by repetitious riffs. The production puts weight to these distorted riffs, sounding like some drug-induced vision of a demon laughing out of control. There isn’t much variety, save for a surprising fast break in “Black Butterfly” and the gargantuan solos flying from Oborn’s fingertips. “Stone Magnet” and “Mourning Prayer” may sound awfully similar to somebody who has been following the band for a while.
Oborn has never been known as a top-contender in the vocal department, as his vocals have become buried under layers of guitars on sequential releases. This is one of the few albums Electric Wizard has done that shows that Oborn has a decent voice. He wails and draws in the listener with smokey tales of wizards riding on dragons and devil brides. The former topic comes up on the anthemic title track, which in ten minutes goes from sluggish doom to soulful blues.
The band’s tendency to have songs between six and ten minutes means that this album has neither the space nor time to get the proper respect in live shows. Listening back to this album shows how important ‘70s doom metal was to the band’s development. It’s a fuzzy ride, with hazy imagery of wizards riding on dragons and black butterflies. For helping to keep the druggy spirit of doom alive in 1995, Electric Wizard gets the nod for this week’s Retro Recommendation.