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As soon as you say the name of the genre 'doom metal', chances are the name of Electric Wizard will immediately spring to mind (if the person is familiar with the genre, of course). Ever since Come My Fanatics and Dopethrone, they've been hailed as the heaviest band ever, and almost made the mainstream a few times because of that title. Ever since Let Us Prey, however, they've toned down the heaviness, and went off to do their own thing. Which is pretty respectable, showing they're not just one trick ponies. However, in doing this, I've personally held the belief that ever since that album, they've been getting progressively less interesting as they've went on.
Now that's probably quite a controversial thought, but it's how I feel. This album kind of proves my point. Overall, it's a lot less interesting than We Live (which was still great, despite it not being their best). Anyway, I'll continue reviewing this as if it was the only album they've made, to avoid fanboy-esque bias. It starts off promising, with the seven minute title track, which displays a typical doom metal riff, as well as some undertones of hammond organ. I really like the organ's presence on the album, since it gives the album a really nostalgic kind of feel, as well as enhancing the witchcraft theme the album has going on. It's almost like a concept album.
Listening to said riff, though, there's something missing. It's a lot less heavy than things they've done in the past. Not that there's a problem with that, since they've shown they don't need to be overly heavy to make some brilliant tracks (see 'Mountains of Mars', 'The Hills Have Eyes' and 'Raptus' on this very album). But the lack of heaviness isn't compensated for. The whole track seems uninspired and uninteresting. It has some good things going for it, but ultimately it doesn't make a very good impression, which is something every opening track should aspire to do.
Unfortunately, I have the same gripe with the rest of the album. The whole thing feels like it's been done before (this is emphasized with a song called "A Chosen Few". There was a song on Let us Prey named "The Chosen Few") . Songs like "Dunwich" and "Satanic Rites of Drugula" are totally awesome, and "Raptus" is quite a gorgeous little interlude, but otherwise, nothing sticks out. On my first listen of this, "Torquemada 71", "Black Magic Rituals and Perversions" and "A Chosen Few" all blended together, and it taken me a few spins to get used to them.
Can I recommend this album? I can. Despite a lot of negative things going for it, it's still a pretty interesting doom album. In fact, it's still a good deal better than a lot of recent doom and sludge acts, but if you want to get into Electric Wizard, I recommend starting with their debut, and working your way forward to this. You may end up disappointed by this, but it'll give you a more pleasant feeling than starting here. Which I did.