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orphy, March 24th, 2008

The word "heavy" gets tossed around for a lot of different bands, some of them totally deserving it, and others get it simply because they play distorted guitars. Electric Wizard is probably the most deserving band of the adjective "heavy" since Black Sabbath. This record not only is deserving of it, but redefines what "heavy" really is.

So, if you haven't heard Electric Wizard before, it can be summed up with relative ease: 70s Black Sabbath for a new generation. This album came out in 1997, and is simply crushing. The band achieves this greatness with several key factors: riffs, simplicity, down tuning, and a lot of cannabis. Let's analyze this further shall we?

One will notice right away that the riffs here are pretty memorable. These guys tune all the way to B which proves to be really effective for these slow, drawn out riffs that rely on blues-based phrasing, much like Sabbath did. The production compliments this further by getting that low end out there, backed by some pretty sludgy bass. Jus Osborn throws on some good leads over the riffs which really help with counterpoint.

At this point, it's pretty clear that Electric Wizard wrote a record that takes the approach of "less is more". Riffs repeat often, song structures are relatively cyclic, and the riffs are not very notey. The band uses this to their full advantage, and lets the true meaning of heavy flow. Combined with their slow tempos, the simplicity becomes so catchy and genius. Even the lyrics are relatively short and simple (and one will notice some Black Sabbath allusions in them). Once the song develops around a central idea, the songs get broken up with some more "jam oriented" parts that seem pretty loose but effective.

Electric Wizard proudly advertise the fact that they love marijuana, and its effects are ever present in their music. From Osborn's raw throat to little nuances like coughing in songs, weed is everywhere here. This album will be a delight to any pot-head, but that doesn't mean it's only for drug users. Fans of doom, stoner rock, or slow heavy music in general will take liking to this.

Pretty much every song on here is full enjoyable. "Wizard In Black" has genius lyrics that are sure to intrigue fans, "Doom Mantia" is like a doom metal anthem almost, and "Son of Nothing" proves to be another track with lyrics that you can't help but sing to. Each song has it's own identity but seem consistent with each other.

This is a really great record full of blurry riffs and has a lot of staying power. They'll never top this album (but have come close). This is how doom metal should sound like today. Electric Wizard really took "heavy" to a whole new level here. If you're looking to buy this album, try grabbing the reissue that Candlelight put out, it includes some deadly bonus tracks that really seem to fit well.