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‘Dopethrone’ marks the beginning of even more change on the Electric Wizard scene. Whilst the line-up stayed the same, the band saw noticeable changes in production and sound. To me, the third outing is by far and away the most accessible record that the British band have issued to the public. As I said, the line-up is the same. We have Jus contributing on vocals and supplying the main outlet to the soundscapes on guitar, Tim takes charge of bass once again and Mark picks up the sticks again and takes control of the percussion. By this stage, the British outfit had gained a lot of fans and popularity. ‘Come My Fanatics…’ solved a lot of the problems that existed on the debut, but didn’t rid them all. ‘Dopethrone’, on the other hand, is considered by most to be the best effort by the band from Dorset, in the South West of England. This is the first time in the history of the band that I could really say I truly enjoyed what was laid in front of me. During each and every one of the previous efforts, I had concerns and weren’t misplaced by any means. Whilst the previous two efforts could be considered largely superfluous, ‘Dopethrone’ was the most powerful, rejuvenated and rhythmic piece of work done by the British outfit. Not until later efforts had this one been surpassed in terms of quality.
The most noticeable change, for me, was in terms of the bands concentrated effort. Three of the eight songs available on this record are over the average length of a song you would expect to see on any given record. Electric Wizard seem to be more able now than ever before to stretch the music. To shape it in any way they see fit, which underlines the obvious talent this band has. In the past, the band have struggled to use the heavy and thick set songs to their advantage. Even on shorter songs, Electric Wizard didn’t seem able to produce the sound they truly wanted. Instead, we were left with mixed bags. The self-titled effort was lazy, ‘Come My Fanatics…’ was bordering on average to good but ‘Dopethrone’, however, really begins to excel in terms of appeal, creativity and innovation. Take ‘Weird Tales’ for example, Electric Wizard have finally grasped the concept that bass is very useful on doom/stoner records. On previous efforts, the main complaint has been the feature of bass, or lack there of. It was largely overshadowed in the past, especially on the debut. However, ‘Dopethrone’ really begins to express the talents that not only Tim has, but the bass instrument itself. On music where the production allows thick music to be the order of the day, Electric Wizard have only just started using this to their considerable advantage. Bass is much improved on this record. It has more creative freedom and the expression of the bass is higher than it has ever been. Tim is a good bassist, there was never any doubting that, but Jus was left to carry the soundscapes alone. Whilst the guitar is affective at creating the heavy atmospheres that doom relies on and needs to have in order to succeed in today‘s market, it cannot stand alone in it’s quest to wash a heavy wave of rhythmic heaviness over the audience. The bass needs to stand up, as does the double bass. Both, thankfully, do. In doing so, the rhythmic nature of Electric Wizard is enhanced. The bass is a very rhythmic instrument, creating bass line after bass line that will be sure to have every fan nodding along.
The drums are much improved too. There is more distinction in Electric Wizard’s music. As I’ve said, in the past the instruments present on the album had a tendency to get lost sometimes, but that isn’t by any means as much a problem as it once was. Jus’ vocals also allow masses of creativity to flow through the sound. His voice doesn’t restrict the progressionist nature of the music. Whilst he is doing his thing, the instruments do theirs, but by his side. Not behind him like they have done in the past. To me, ‘Dopethrone’ represents the first Electric Wizard album to have a truly breathtaking song … ‘We Hate You’. Whilst most people regard the epic self-titled song as the greatest song this band has ever created, I don’t. The jazzed up nature of ‘We Hate You’ is so infectious it’s unbelievable. To me, this is the first occasion when everything has come together perfectly for Electric Wizard. From the hypnotizing vocals, to the awe inspiring atmospheric tones of the guitars. It is all perfectly produced and put together, leading me to congratulate the band on a high level of song writing. Even the lyrics are perfect for the song and transpire the message of hate and negative feelings very well.
“A seed of hate from the day I was born
My right to vengeance from me has been torn
Hopeless and drugged, my black emotions seethe
Loveless and cold, my hate begins to breed.”
Whilst ‘Dopethrone’ isn’t my favourite record from the band, it is a good effort nevertheless. I’d recommend it to any fan of doom or stoner.