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Vintage doom with choruses - 97%

Arkkiperkele, December 7th, 2007

Jus Oborn and his co-cultists have finally returned from their smoked doped-out chasms with a new album. When the Electric Wizard delivered a montrosity, sonic equivalent of ton-of-bricks, that is called Dopethrone, they probably didn't in their fucked-up state of mind realise what an unsurpassable slug of dirge they lumped us. To this day it quite frankly impossible to find a doom metal album as perfect, yet as unforgiving as Dopethrone is.

Therefore it is hard to decide what to expect from their newest output. In between came Let Us Prey and We Live, but from retrospect both fall far from Dopethrone. Let Us Prey was an uneven package, apparantely reflecting the bands uncertain situation at the moment. We Live was much better, featured a new line-up and a fresh atmosphere, but still lukewarm as a whole.

Witchcult Today is therefore both a relief and a disappointment. Here the EW have succesfully caught the crackling atmosphere of 70s with their vintage amps and equipment. Apparently the album was recorded at some obscure studio, consisting of solely analogue equipment. Never ever have the Wizard been as cathcy and compromising as now. Although the change of sound is a complete opposite to what was heard on We Live, a true echo from Birmingham of 1970, Witchcult Today is actually very easy for the unwary ear.

Oborn's wailing is now higher and more Sabbathy than ever. No longer are the vocals buried under the crushing wall of guitars and bass, it is now even possible to make sense of the lyrics, though which make as little sense themselves as ever. Soloing and riffing of the axes has never been catchier, nor is it as sloppy as it sometimes was on Dopethrone. And what struck me most, Oborn (apparently, credits are not too clear) has written choruses! Not that they haven't been there before, but fuck me if you can't remember the chorus of basically every song on the album (except for the sample-instrumental mayhem that is Black Magic Rituals & Perversions) after two listens. The title track, Dunwich, Torquemada 71 and Saturnine are especially prime examples.

This is an album that sinks to the deepest bowels of your mind right from the start and will keep you in your grip for the umpteenth listen. Then again it forces you to think, this is it then? This was the new Electric Wizard, the slaves to THC at their best? Witchcult Today may not be as unforgivingly crushing experience as Dopethrone was. Yet it is as wicked and fucked up as its makers are. This is again a different path for Electric Wizard, and definitely not a bad path.

Witchcult Today is an album that makes you want to hate it for its simplicity at first sight and on the other hand love it for its deadly catchiness and addictivity. A truly fantastic album.