The Bottom Line
- Very catchy songs with monstrous riffs.
- An excellent example of mid-paced doom metal with just a degree of accessibility.
- A crushing, deep production.
- Released January 18th, 2011 on Metal Blade Records.
- Electric Wizard hail from England.
- Features the guitar wizardry of husband and wife team Jus Oborn and Liz Buckingham.
Guide Review - Electric Wizard - 'Black Masses'
Electric Wizard have a generally acknowledged bona fide classic under their belts, the much heralded Dopethrone from 2000, but lineup changes and uneven songwriting have varied the quality of Electric Wizard releases over the years. Through it all, band founder, vocalist/ guitarist, Jus Oborn has soldiered on and has now found a solid foundation with guitarist partner, and wife, Liz Buckingham. Recently joining the band is the solid rhythm section consisting of new bassist Tas, and drummer Shaun Rutter, whom previously appeared on Electric Wizard’s last full-length, 2007's Witchcult Today.
As mentioned, Black Masses has the right amount of accessible, catchy stoner laden riffs to go along with the generally heavy assault of Electric Wizard’s form of Black Sabbath-descended doom metal. With the exception of the final song, the ambient piece “Crypt of Drugula,” each of the album’s mid-paced songs feature a central riff or two that ebb and flow as the song progresses.
“Black Mass,” the opener, sets the tone of the album immediately with a catchy, rock-oriented riff, albeit one that is piled on with tons of heavy distortion and Oborn’s muted, higher pitched vocals that appear to periodically fade into the background. Deeper into the album, however, the album begins to take on a decidedly heavier tone, though no less accessible, culminating in two monstrous riffs in the album’s centerpiece, a sprawling ten minute opus of psychedelic doom entitled “Satyr IX.” The last two outright songs on the album, “Turn Off Your Mind” and “Scorpio Curse” dial it back a bit before the album concludes with “Crypt of Drugula.”
Oborn, Buckingham, and company have seemingly found a winning combination on Black Masses, an album that is probably the best the band has done since Dopethrone. Certainly, the album’s catchiness will grant the album much greater stamina than I’ve found with recent efforts from Electric Wizard, and I’ve no doubt that Black Masses will remain a steady fixture in my stereo’s rotation for years to come.