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In the Vinyl Age, this recording would have been considered a full album at just over 30 minutes with each track taking up one whole side. Times sure have changed since then. The music on this EP though has a very steely hard-edged style that contrasts with and complements the trippy ambience and enervated vocals. The lyrics range from human desire for release from slavery and other cares of this world leading to escape and flight to apparent freedom that turns out to be a new form of slavery under the rule of Lovecraftian aliens, to another form of escape, this time an inner psychological one, which also results in a new form of imprisonment: a chemical one.
After a spaced-out and bubbly intro of guitar tone wobble reverb, the title track plunges straight into deep pile-driving bass rhythms and basically never lets up. The riffing anchors the entire track, rarely changing very much and supported by restrained yet powerful drumming and an abrasive guitar sound. Vocalist Oborn screeches out of equal amounts of exasperation and exhaustion leading eventually to fear and hysterical madness, while later in the track lead guitar races away on a speed trip all its own. The build-up from slow and straightforward traditional doom metal to a more layered psychedelic beast with berserk guitar work and a horror element is so gradual that the derangement of the song's climax is upon us before we even realise that we've been trapped by our own desire for liberation.
"Burnout" is a chuggier track, more retro and less doom in style and mood than the title piece, with an excellent sound especially in the lead guitar soloing. Vocals are roughly equal measures of Oborn's ragged singing and muttered spoken voice recordings of someone so doped up to his eyeballs in whatever combination of psilocybins and other chemicals that he is dead in all but physicality. The track dispenses with the singing pretty quickly and just before the halfway point ascends to (or descends into, depending on your point of view) another plane of existence where lead guitar solo supplemented by reverb, wobble and various other effects, and supported by a hard-working rhythm section concentrating on keeping time and bulking up the music, takes us all on an extended journey through a dark, sometimes exhilarating, sometimes terrifying inner cosmos. The whole thing reaches a climax about the 14th or 15 minute when it starts becoming a nightmare with swirling, ebbing and fro-ing music and effects.
Both tracks in themselves are such overwhelming mind-fuck experiences that the Wizardly ones were right to have put them out as an EP rather than on a full-length album: additional tracks would have been superfluous, listeners not giving them the attention they deserve; and if "Supercoven" and "Burnout" were any longer, they would be very exhausting. Other bands might have been tempted to overplay the songs, adding more sounds or studio trickery to them to exaggerate the mood and risking the songs' ruin through theatricality. It's hard to decide which is the better track of the two because they're different in style though their themes are similar: personally I prefer "Supercoven" because of the driving, surging rhythms, the Lovecraft / Cthulhu theme and the visual imagery the lyrics conjure up but "Burnout" musically has the edge as it's a perfect evocation of a junkie experiencing extreme side effects as well as the joys of his chemical addiction.
Whirlwind. Braindamage. SUPERmindcrash. These are words that 'try' to describe SUPERCOVEN - an ep that I consider better than most full-length albums ever recorded. But words are only words, and they so brutally fail to capture the beauty of Electric Wizard. That's why you will never read a proper review of the mighty wizard, for Jus Oborn's music is just so good and not out of this world. Supercoven gathers in itself '60s psychedelia, doom metal, stoner rock, and of course some material from the cosmos that is still not named.
The first track, SuperMIGHTYcoven, starts off with something that to me sounds (and looks) like a pink bubble dissolving into fluorescent green gas of the oceans of Saturn. I say 'gas' because water is just not thick enough to describe the sound of the song, the ep, or Electric Wizard in general. After the dissolving of the bubbles that to someone might also sound like the departure of a rocket to outer space, you receive riffage that goes for some time and then the God-like voice of Mr. Oborn joins the engine of the machine and starts summoning the black sun master. The guitars and riffage try to prepare you for the climax of the song where you should already be in the end of your mind's capacity:
"Mindless fuckin' slaves, You're mindless slaves."
After these lines I just fail to say what the guitar does. If I had to paint it, it would look like a huge river where other small rivers mix their waters in the colours of the rainbow, but in more fluorescent overtones. And gasoline bubbles surrounding them in the air. Wait, is there any air in space? To me, this song is absolutely flawless and perfect in the framework of perfection that The Wizard built during the years. It will sound to your ears like reading the best H.P. Lovecraft story combined with drinking ambrosia.
Burnout follows in the footsteps of its brother. It has the same amount of psyche in the music, only the lyrical content is EVEN more drugged and "chemical stained". It is the story of a guy who is so high and out of his mind (but unlike other songs about drugs he is okay with that) that he can't feel anything about the world. I, not being a drug abuser (how lame), relate it to myself in a deeper way, especially:
"Dreams turned black I'll never see
Can't you see, nothing is real
Transparent world I cannot feel
I cannot feel."
This is the best thing about Electric Wizard, and even the outsiders of the outsiders have something to relate to. For me, this track passes not like 13 minutes and then 18, but like 3 seconds and then 8. Judge for yourself. As my best friend often says, "If I hear that live, I'd blow my soul off".
Overall, the production sounds very analog, the vocals and drumming are not being emphasized on, but the guitar does its magic. Electric Wizard are to be listened to in the dark when you're alone or in a smoke-filled club. Or anywhere maybe because they just steal the light away.
I can’t even begin to fathom the imagination/state of mind it takes to create something as mind blowing and tripped out as this EP. Electric Wizard have completely encompassed my vision of stoner doom metal in just two songs. Thankfully these songs are pretty long, giving the listener a taste of what the band is all about.
Beginning with a long spacey intro, the title track really packs a punch. All the necessities of a quality Stoner/Doom album ensue; extremely heavy bass, trudging guitars, and everything is sure to have, dare I say, a ‘sufficient’ amount of distortion. About halfway through the song Oborn begins wailing on his guitar and continues to do so for the remainder, but is not over dramatic about it. The guitar doesn’t drown out the rest of the band while still managing to sound incredible. On another note, the vocals are just killer and the emotion just pours from Oborn.
Wizard of Gore opens with an incredibly creepy audio clip; I’d actually love to know where it’s from, or if the band made it themselves. “...let Mr. Silo explain to you our next trick... Dismemberment”. The cries of a torture victim are heard before the song begins. Driven by an almost militant drum intro, incredibly fuzzy subsonic bass sounds out again. The style of riffing and even the tone of the guitars on both of these songs remind me of the ‘70 Black Sabbath self titled; except this time the songs are played with even more sluggishness. The only qualm I have with this EP is the random up tempo part at the end of Wizard of Gore, it just doesn’t seem to fit in quite right and throws off the atmosphere that had been created.
Overall, this release is gloomy, distorted, and goddamn epic. Definitely check it out if you frequently find yourself looking for Stoner/Doom Metal.
Highlights: The whole damned thing.
Written for http://www.britof.net/
This album is one long vision in which anger, pain, and "awareness" find a well blended mixture within the tones of this alien hybrid of post 60's, psychodelic, doomed out, rock 'n' roll tinged early Heavy Metal (ecspecially the early British movement which is evident clearly from the sound). Using an epic styling to conjure their particular version of the "turn on, tune in, and drop out" message, this album contains some rather experimental parts, mixed with a classic Doom, Stoner metal feel, and a package thats extremely slick (well the 3rd and 4th tracks are bit rough on the production, but track three is from the "Live 71" 94 demo, and 4 is from a show in Holland 8/96, while tracks 1 and 2 were record 13-15/02/98, and being originally released as "Trip 2" by Bad Acid Records, so one should assume a production difference...).
Heavyness needeth not extreme speed, and such is practiced on this record,... the deepend wails of the bassey tones totally hash out a thick, clouded, dismally grand portrait of their gloomy vision with rough musical wizardry, and a stoned deep pyschadelic feel that exudes classic aspects of its respective style in full on penetration of your psyche (the personification of the soul, by Greek standards). Capturing a cold doomy mood, and atmosphere the songs seemingly drift along, becoming either prefect background music, or for centralizing your thought upon while in extreme intoxication. This may be a 4 song release, but this is 50 some minutes of quality music, all of which is crafted to the stoners taste, so if you like to smoke pot, and dive into a record, this is a good/fine/nice choice, but probably not the greatest. Not an exceptional release, but duly one full of merit, and positive qualities. Easily accessible to fans of early Black Sabbath, and St Vitus, this is a genre epitomizing band, but with a bit more modernization feel to it, adding a good fullness to the sound, and deteriorating nothing from its impact.
I really have nothing bad to say about this release, maybe more songs, but who really wants less music on an album when its good music, and trust me Electric Wizard are a kickass band, and their discography is loaded with good music. Turn to the sun,... and annihilate some brain cells....