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Electric Wizard - We Live (2004)
After 'Dopethrone' was released in 2000, Wizard seemed to have hit their creative peak with riffs heavy enough to crush the ribcage of a baby sitting next to the speaker. 'Let Us Prey' came out without raising too many eyebrows, then Mark Greening and Tim Bagshaw (drums and bass respectively) left in 2003. This left Jus Oborn to rebuild Wizard, and judging by this album he did a hell of a job recruiting new blood.
Less psychedelic than any previous album, 'We Live' is much more focused on the intricate doom riffs of Oborn and Liz Buckingham, Wizard's new guitarist and Oborn's wife.
This album is deceptively the first time Electric Wizard has had two guitarists (Oborn is a wizz with a loop pedal). The two guitarists give room for some awesome riff patterns and solos, with the lyrics creating eerie images of ancient mythology, b-grade horror movies and depression stemming from drug abuse.
The noise is just relentless, truly doomy, a masterpiece if you love your sludge. It lacks the atomic-heaviness of 'Dopethrone' (think of that baby's ribcage with the title track), but this is still a roaring monster tearing your speakers apart. The sound is still brutal, but with a more complex edge to give it a more mature feel.
Justin Greaves, Mark Greenings replacement, has some very impressive fills, particularily around the end of 'Eko Eko Azarak'. Unfortunently the bass (Rob Al-Issa) gets a bit lost in the mix, but overall the sound is tighter than a nun's cunt. This album needed to be good to ensure a future for Electric Wizard, and it more than impressed me. As a hardcore wizard fan I was worried how this would turn out, but now this is my favourite album (Yep, even over Dopethrone - just).