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Wizard in Green - 75%

Abominatrix, October 7th, 2017

File this one among the early releases of bands that hadn't yet truly found themselves. For this very reason, people who don't generally enjoy Electric Wizard might find something more to appreciate here. Although the album wasn't exactly my introduction to the band, it's still the first LP I heard in full and it was a nice way to sort of ease into the band's discography.

Electric Wizard give us, normally, a very distorted, noisy, dark and evil take on the Sabbath-inspired doom formula. They lace their hymns to narcotics, hate, horror and malevolent mages with psychedelia, and sometimes, walls of churning, malefic noise. The Sabbathian doom can be found here, and the lyrical concepts seem about the same, though their eponymous song is surprisingly positive in tone (think "Dreamer/Deceiver", if you want, for comparison). It's not at all a noisy record, though; in fact it's quite clean sounding, which can simultaneously work for and against the album.

You might be surprised at how great some of these riffs are, though. You may think to yourself, "oh great, another band that wants to sound like Black Sabbath and writes songs about smoking weed, as if there aren't enough of those around", and you'd be right to be cynical. This scene, if you can call it that, is full of the most uninspired musicians who don't seem to have the merest inkling of originality or the ability to stand out from hundreds of others. The members that make up Electric Wizard have been around the block a bit, though, and I think they've always been able to set themselves apart by "cranking up the evil and hate". Most of this "stoner doom" stuff has a rather friendly air about it; by contrast the Wizard would be quite happy to see you dead, or perhaps, undead and slave to an alien drug.

I really must stress that this album, above all else, survives wholly on the strength of its riffs. Although there's some nice soloing and feedback noise at the end of "Electric Wizard", and "Mountains of Mars" is a trippy, effect-laiden instrumental that you can really lose yourself in for a few moments, it's a rather plain-sounding album, all in all, with a stark production job that renders the tunes just a bit bare. Because I've become a fan of much of the band's later work, I'm going to say here that I think this album is just a little subdued and tentative, and that's not really something I want to associate with Electric Wizard. On the other hand, if you aren't really a fan of all the noise and gloom and "fucked-upedness", you might want to turn around and read what I wrote as positive comments, and consider this the most "pure" Electric Wizard album, in the sense that what you're presented with here is the band without embellishments; without the confidence, perhaps, to make their own production choices and maybe limited by comparative inexperience. There is a case to be made for the approach, and certainly this band has occasionally been accused of cloaking their music in so much distortion and effects that people wonder if there's really much there to begin with. I would argue that at least until recently the emperor has worn some really arresting garments, so to speak, but I can understand the reverse position, too.

And the riffs here have a lot to recommend them. Towering behemoths of heaviness, really, cut from the Sabbath formula, certainly, but still fresh enough to stand out. "Devil's Bride", "Behemoth", and the title track have always been favourites, and "Stone Magnet" is a really nice, just slightly more up-tempo opener and makes for a very sensible way with which to begin the album. The songs don't usually overstay their welcome and while they're repetitive, the riffs are sometimes so good that one wants to hear them again and again. Unfortunately the sound isn't as powerful as I think it could be, but that's not really a major complaint, except it never really seems to be loud enough until I turn it up so much that it's distorting my speakers, and hey, that kind of does make it sound like the later albums, a bit! Of surprises there aren't really too many, but I might count the title track once again, for its generally more "hippie-ish" lyrical tone and, of all things, an acoustic guitar solo, which I guess is only surprising in the context of later material.

There you have it, then: an interesting album; possibly a good gateway for some, but ultimately too "normal", I think, to be truly a classic in the field. It's lacking that madness that would come to signify the Wizardly approach. I know a few people who consider this the only really worthwhile album from these lads, and there's at least one review on this site which makes the same assertion. If you ask me, though, the next few albums represent their strongest material.

Stoner doom delicacy - 97%

Doominance, October 17th, 2013

I think this is one of Electric Wizard's best releases. I don't get the "average at best" opinions at all, but like they say, "to each their own". In my opinion, this is stoner doom sexiness. Pure stoner fucking doom metal!

Jus Oborn's riffs might be a bit monotonous on this release, but they are heavy, bluesy, and most importantly; catchy. Another thing is that you won't hear the fuzziness you'll hear on later albums, but this isn't a bad thing at all. The riffs on this album wouldn't work as well with the same sound as the riffs you'll find on releases such as Come My Fanatics... and Dopethrone.

Electric Wizard's opus proves us that Jus Oborn is more than a capable vocalist and lyricist. Here, you will find some of the wizard's finest moments when you think of vocals and lyrics. But Jus Oborn alone doesn't make this album as good as it is. The rhythm section is most excellent! Mark Greening's drumming is what true stoner drumming should sound like - tight as a nun's cunt. Tim Bagshaw's basslines are solid and work well with Greening's drums, and at the same time, complementing Oborn's guitar work.

Like I said earlier, the riffs aren't the most creative ones, but they're damn strong. As soon as Stone Magnet starts playing, you're hooked. While Stone Magnet is a good song, it's not as good as what you'll find later on. In fact, this album just gets better further you travel into it. What truly stands out in this release of hazy riffage is Mountain of Mars. This is a very trippy psychedelic instrumental song which takes you on a journey through the vast cosmos. Black Butterfly is one of my favourite songs by Electric Wizard and is definitely a strong point in this release. It's a bit more diverse than the rest of the songs. It's the "doomiest" song, in my opinion. The lyrics are great, main riff is good and it features a decent solo followed by a fast bit, working as a breath of fresh air.

I don't know why this album isn't rated higher by fans of this music genre. I think it's very overlooked and perhaps overshadowed by Sleep's Holy Mountain. I think Electric Wizard's opus is as good as Sleep's Holy Mountain. While Black Sabbath's Master of Reality might have been the first true stoner metal album, the genre itself didn't grow popular until bands such as Kyuss, Sleep and indeed Electric Wizard released albums such as Blues For The Red Sun, Holy Mountain and Electric Wizard in the 1990s; over two decades after Master of Reality's release in 1971.

If you're just getting into Electric Wizard, you've probably listened to songs off Dopethrone and Witchcult Today, maybe even Come My Fanatics..., but by all means, don't leave this album out. This is a great, great album!

To me, this is one of Electric Wizard's best, and one of the best within the stoner doom genre, so for that, I give this amazing album a score of 97%.

How Electric Wizard began as Sabbath worshippers - 75%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, December 27th, 2012

Modestly self-titled, Electric Wizard's debut album ushers in what has come to be an institution in the UK metal scene. Fittingly, the band's name is detailed in the same font that Black Sabbath used for their eponymous debut album. Anyone launching a doom metal band with similar ambitions of becoming a household name in the future, take note ... The artwork by Dave Patchett (best known for his Cathedral album covers) is stunning too, depicting a woman astride a bat-winged seahorse flying through clear waters over a city of colourful yurts and giant statues, one of which recreates a statue of the Graces of Greek mythology.

The foregoing tells you, if you hadn't guessed already, that Electric Wizard's inspirations are bands like Black Sabbath and Cathedral and that their music is steeped in retro or traditional doom metal with stoner influences. Listening to the debut the first time, I can definitely hear the old doom style combined with slower, sludge metal touches and a more psychedelic stoner influence; the surprise is that the music doesn't sound all that dated for its time and still sounds quite fresh even 17 years (17 years!) later. Part of the reason must be that recording and production methods have improved a lot since the late 1960s when the Sabs launched their career and had to make do with whatever studio recording facilities were available to them (and we have to remember too that Tony Iommi and Co faced a lot of prejudice and discrimination in their early career); another reason is that EW use lead guitar solos quite sparingly and don't over-indulge in them to the extent that a lot of old 70s hard rock and metal bands did.

Hearing the album a second time and then a third, I find that it improves with each hearing and there are few filler tracks. For me, the best tracks are fairly sludgey ones like "Black Butterfly" which is a slow foot-dragging affair with long droning guitar chords and an unexpected dive into a change of key for the lead guitar solo, enhanced by reverb which takes the listener into a different dimension of consciousness for a brief time; another such track is "Devil's Bride" with its steady-state motorcycle-at-rest chug alternating with more active and sinuous riffs, and sinister vocals. Nice touch at the end where it all goes completely berserk.

For something very different, the instrumental "Mountains of Mars" has a beautiful and quite spooky space-ambient atmosphere hovering over the bass-dominant rhythm loop. I like the track as it is though I have to stop my mind from thinking (as usual) of all the zillions of ways EW might have worked it into other as yet to be written songs: whatever I think could be done with it, "Mountains ..." certainly shows some potential for the band to pursue a more ambient direction if the musicians had so desired.

I get the impression that EW are finding their feet and not quite sure how to integrate the slower, bass-heavy sludge metal elements into their brand of Sabbath wannabe retro-doom. Songs near the beginning of the album sound quite fresh and enthusiastic. There are still some surprises in trad doom yet to be discovered. This is not a bad album for people new to EW to start with: it shows the band's influences in music and lyrics and demonstrates that even household names often follow in the footsteps of their inspirations - a little too closely perhaps.

No Hope, No Future, No Fuckin' Job - 94%

Thumbman, December 8th, 2012

Electric Wizard's debut is often cast aside as a mere Sabbath clone. While doom metal certainly has it's fair share of Sabbath worship, it would be unfair to disregard this as a half-baked Sabbath duplicate. While the Sabbath influence is certainly there, just as it is on countless other doom records, Electric Wizard add their own flavour to a traditional sound. Saying that this is no more than a Sabbath clone is just as silly as saying the majority of modern black metal is no more than Burzum and Darkthrone rip offs. It has been often asserted that with their debut, Electric Wizard had not yet found their sound. This is only half true at best. While they do have their signature sound, it manifests itself in a more traditional setting the first time around. Their drugged-out vibe and slow infectious riffs are there, they just aren't pushed to the extremes that they would be in subsequent records. This isn't quite as heavy and sludgy as they would later become. Make no mistake, this still is damn heavy for a more traditional doom sound.

This album is pretty straightforward stoner doom, while they have their own unique subtleties, this certainly isn't far from what you'd expect when the name of the genre is mentioned. It should be kept in mind, however, that at this point the genre wasn't as well established as one might think. Sure, Sabbath had certain songs that exemplified the stoner doom sound back in the seventies, but it was only in the 90s that the stoner strand of doom started to really blossom as a sub-genre. Many people seem to forget how influential this album is for the time it came out. Every little subtlety on this album exemplifies a laid-back stoner vibe. This sound has become somewhat of an archetype for the genre. While taking some queues from Iommi's riffcraft, they take a preexisting sound and adapt it into something new.

This album is much more accessible and straightforward than any of their other records. While this does feature some relatively long songs, the songwriting remains to the point. These songs are catchy without coming off as overtly melodic. "Black Butterfly" is a prime example of the heights their songwriting can reach. Definitely the best track of the album, this song is one of the most memorable in Electric Wizard's discography. Although the album is almost always slow, a faster section is thrown into this song. This provides an interesting shift in dynamics and is quite a surprise upon first listen. "Stone Magnet" is also a track that stands out, featuring top notch songwriting and general all around badassery, something that is magnified greatly by the song's lyrics:

"Looking all around, the world's a dream
Traveling to places that I have never seen
High up here is where I'm really free
Listen people, you've got to free the weed

Yeah, you knew the deal
You knew I would make you feel
But look around you, what you got
No hope, no future, no fuckin' job"

The riffs are simple, but do much more than merely get the job done. They're the type of riffs that refuse to leave your skull after the album's duration has come to an end. The riffs have a nice groove to them, which is an occurrence that remains throughout the album. The solos aren't really that much a far cry from what they are on later albums. Spaced out and bluesy, they often start slow and crescendo to lightning fast pull ons and pull offs. This release does have occasional tinges psychedelia, with "Mountains of Mars" being the most prominent example of this. Otherworldly free-floating psychedelia is rooted by deep bass notes. This is something to drift off to in a daze.

Often looked over as that Sabbath worship album they did before they found their sound, this record rarely gets the respect it deserves. The riffs are 100% killer, the songwriting is great and the overall vibe is something worth hearing. It's one of those albums you can really tune out to. This is much more than just a decent starting point for the band, it successfully achieves everything it set out to do. Sure, it isn't as experimental or crushing as some of their later works, but this album does a spectacular job at creating an outstanding sound in a more traditional framework.

Originally Posted At:

As good as it's going to get but not bad - 70%

marktheviktor, July 24th, 2010

Apparently, Electric Wizard's music are the "must have" thing for doom metal but I'm not buying that. If you ask me-and that's only if you ask- there are better doom metal bands than this. They try, I'll give them that. And succeed at what they do. They specialize in pulverizing you back to the stone age with heavier than thou riffs stuffed with bass lines augmenting for even more weight. And if you smoke a lot of weed well, this is the band for you. I am a reasonable man however. I will give them more credit in that they pick and stick to their formula. This self-titled debut album though is more straight forward classic doom than their more popular Dopethrone record; an album I just did not care for. And so this is the album of theirs that I have come to prefer. And when I say it's more straight forward, it's relatively so for them as I found it isn't completely different than their others. Every bit of their elephantine heaviness of sound is here as the others; just not as protracted with that self style of theirs. And this one can get boring at times too but there are some parts of it that I enjoy. I would still take Cathedral on their worse day over Electric Wizard on their best twenty-four seven and three hundred and sixty-five days a year. Just so you know!

I got a sense of deja vu when Stone Magnet opened the album. I could have sworn I heard this song before on another EW album. But really, that was just because of the familiarity of it all. After awhile it starts to sound the same but once I reorientated myself, I could make it out as a bit different. The vocalist delivery for instance, captured quite a lot of Pentagram as well as a nice guitar solo. Mourning Prayer had a pretty nice smooth bore riff of what I look for in doom that transits well into another sensible rhythm that flows with the Bill Ward style hits. But if I hear another song by these guys where Jus moans "politician..." I think I'm gonna hurl. Again, I've heard this same thing before on other albums by them and so it starts to become tired after awhile.

Mountains of Mars is a very cool song for all the right reasons. Maybe the title alone will hint exactly what those reasons are. No prize for guessing that it's a pastiche of Planet Caravan by Black Sabbath. It's got the quaint cosmic aura and lunar isolation. The only discernible thing about it is that it has no vocals and it's more bass driven. The easy thing to have done would have been to just do a cover of Planet Caravan but I'm glad the band went all out and did something much like it instead. Behemoth is played to live up to its name. It's big and steeped with cumbrous dimension where there's room for classic Sabbath solos in and all around. This is a favorite song of many Electric Wizard fans and that's understandable but I much prefer Devil's Bride because it's more up to speed with the time structure allowing more room to operate to do other things like change up for another retro type solo. That's been a criticism of mine for this group. On a lot of other albums it seemed they were too busy dooming for the sake of dooming and there was never any space to put in anything else that could go with it in an interesting way. That's why I like this album better because the band is more economical with their sound.

The highpoint of this record is easily Black Butterfly. It does start out in the usual predictable way but things get interesting when the riffs go from colossal to epic. The bass proves to be more useful when it rears back into a more conventional purpose of setting the tone for that wonderful guitar solo that soars like a mythical dragon sprung by Saruman. The last song is Electric Wizard. I felt it's a good track to end things on. This is a very heady number with it's length and stoner grooves that conjures up uncanny psychedelic classicism that we would expect from old Black Sabbath.

I haven't heard every full-length album that this band has released. This eponymous record by them was my first. It was good enough to make me go out and buy Come My Fanatics...(which was interesting but too avant-garde) and of course the Dopethrone album that I have made clear my opinion on. I think I will remain with this record right here if I want to listen to Electric Wizard. It might be the least liked LP by EW enthusiasts but I'm not out for anything more than what I heard from this record. I'll stick to this and be just fine.

Why so misunderstood? - 95%

ProjectileZombies, August 12th, 2009

It may have something to do with this being my first Wizard album. It may have something to do with my love of stoner doom. But fuck this 60 percent shit. I've been listening to this for over a year, and I still do, because it is superb. Superb execution, stellar performance, and overall a true slab of stoner metal art. If I were asked to introduce a metalhead to stoner metal, I would hand them Holy Mountain and this bad ass mother fucker. Ooooooh, the guitar isn't all fuzzy wuzzy like on CMF and Dopethrone! Well, go have a cry. If you're going to let the production, which is pretty damn good, turn you off listening to these brilliant, classic tracks, then you're a fool for it.

When I saw this beast only had one review a little while ago, I took a crack at a review. It never showed up here. Luckily, a positive one showed, but now I feel some fighting must be done. Did you say the drumming was bad? The drumming? Bad? God damn son. It's jizz provoking. From the opening of the classic (The word 'classic' sums this album up so well) Stone Magnet, to the end of, well, Wooden Pipe I guess, I've never gotten bored, I've never needed to complain. The riffs, MY GOD, the riffs are just covered, COVERED in that magic fucking green leaf. But on the subject of drumming, this can be considered a learning tool for how to play stoner doom drums well. I've always liked - Wait, the mega slow end riff to Stone Magnet came on..... Fuck, that's brilliant!

"But look around you, what ya got?
No home no future, no fucking job"

I'm not pointing out some kind of poetic brilliance, it's just incredibly catchy. I sing that part every time I hear it.

As Witchcult_Reverend pointed out, I do not understand the complete lack of love for this album. Well, you want to hear the flaws? The riffs aren't uber creative, and they're repeated. But fuck, I can safely say there are worse riffs on Witchcult Today, and that album is about five times more repetitive than this one. So shut your noise.

Mourning Prayer is actually quite the opposite of this so called flaw, as it is diverse and incredibly good, definitely a good option for 2nd best song on the album. I had to learn how to play this song after hearing it a couple of times, it's very, very good. I want everyone, everyone in the world, to listen to it. I can't even say that about any song on Witchcult, and I think Satanic Rites of Drugula is really good. Mourning Prayer beats that song. I think the best thing for all the Witchcult lovers would be to listen to this album, because you'll find it's a little bit better.

Look, honestly, lyrics aren't incredibly important to me. If they're really good, it improves the song. If they're really bad, they make the song worse. This album contains good, but not amazing lyrics. I think the Wizard has always had good lyrics, and this album isn't an exception.

Behemoth! What can I say. Fucking Behemoth. It's slow, it's heavy (although missing the extreme fuzziness of Dopethrone). My god, it's really good. It tops Mourning Prayer. It's full of so many headbanging, DUN DUN DUN moments. And very good lyrics too, as pointed out before.

The performances are actually really good for british stoners. I like Mark Greening's style, I love Jus' riffing (I mean, this album competes for best classic stoner doom with Holy Mountain. That's a big, but fair call), he really thought of some excellent stuff to do with the fairly recent concept of stoner doom. This album is consistantly slower and a bit more bluesy, and definitely a bit more versatile than Holy Mountain. Yet why do you ask, Sleep's Holy Mountain is praised as a stoner doom classic and this album isn't? The Wizard have never sounded like they do on this album. Never ever ever. People loved CMF and Dopethrone, and when they come back to this, the Wizard they know and love just isn't there.

This album is one of my prized possessions, and a true salute to the spirit of stoner doom. I recommend you listen to it if you like Holy Mountain or if you've never listened to Electric Wizard.

Caves of Eternal Midnight...Aren't Quite Open Yet - 60%

The_Evil_Hat, August 11th, 2009

Electric Wizard’s familiar to most metalheads. They’re primarily known for albums like Dopethrone, long, hazy, dark and monolithic. As such, it’s a bit of a surprise to some that their first album only hits the first of those. This is an album from the Wizard before they were really the Wizard; it has undeniable similarities but could just as easily be another band for the vast majority of its run time.

Black Sabbath has always been a large influence on the band, but on this album they go from a primary influence to being pretty much the only one. This is fairly conventional stoner metal, bearing more than a few traits in common with records like Sleep’s Holy Mountain. The guitar tone is far cleaner than it would ever be again, and the sound as a whole is near crystal clear, compared to some of their later works, at least. Going hand in hand with this is a totally different atmosphere. The music is far more light hearted than ever before, and about half the lyrics reflect the wonders of weed far more than they do tales of eldritch horror. Even when the band sings of terrors and wrongs, with the notable exception of the lyrically superb Behemoth, they generally portray far too cartoonish a vibe for there to ever be a true sense of malice.

The guitar here is the crunchiest that it’s ever been, but it’s also the lightest without the slightest doubt. The riffs are generally interesting, and the highly prevalent lead work is often quite well done. The bass is far weaker here than on subsequent albums, content to merely follow the guitar for the entire thing. The drumming is utterly unremarkable here, laying down an adequate beat and nothing more.

The vocals are totally clean on this release, not to mention more up front than they would be again for nine years. Oborn doesn’t sing with the guitar, but rather over it in a more traditional style. He isn’t nearly as powerful, nor as hypnotizing, as he is on later releases, although he’s probably the highlight of the album anyway. The lyrics are, as always, very well written. They have the surreal feel that they would always maintain, though the subject matter is, as previously mentioned, quite different, focusing on the new vistas opened by dope, rather than on the horrors of outer space and the like. The second verse of Stone Magnet shows this theme quite well:

“Looking all around, the world's a dream,
Traveling to places that I have never seen,
High up here is where I'm really free,
Listen people, you've got to free the weed,
Oh yeah!”

The main flaw on this album is that the band’s later structural ideas are already firmly in place, while the actual riffwriting lags far behind. The songs are generally over five minutes, three of them breaching the eight minute mark. Like on later albums, riffs are played again and again, but the riffs themselves simply don’t have the charisma to sustain such repetition. As a result, more than a few songs grow old long before they start to wind down.

The album opens with Stone Magnet. It’s one of the strongest songs, primarily due to its relatively modest length. The interlude Mountains of Mars is one of the most realized songs on here, and is also the only one in which the bass actually acts on its own. Behemoth is probably the strongest lyrically. It shows large similarities to their later work, even if they would never be quite this didactic again:

“His blackened wings shadow the Earth,
This age of fire is his rebirth,
Awakened now in these troubled times,
He's come to judge us for our crimes,


So change now, before it's too late,
Or life in servitude will be your fate,
Be free, do as you will,
Love and happiness, you take your fill.”

The music, unfortunately, isn’t even close to being able to successfully bear the lyrics. It’s far too light hearted and repetitive. Devil’s Bride, the following track, bears a similar but worse fate. It describes a satanic ritual, designed to indoctrinate Satan’s bride. Unfortunately, the song is far too broad in its descriptions, more a summary of what’s to happen rather than specific images. The music itself is some of the weakest present. It’s sufficiently heavy at first, but soon grows painfully tiresome and lacks the mystique necessary to pull off a convincing ritualistic feel.

The concluding title track is a relative standout. The lighter tone works better here, and the lyrics depict a humorous dragon-born journey throughout the universe in the company of a wizard. It’s one of the few tracks where the long play time actually shows evolution, and some of the later developments are quite interesting.

Electric Wizard’s debut is a proficient, if not particularly exemplary, stoner doom debut. It’s far too one track for its own good, playing riffs until they’re utterly worthless and carrying far too many of the same ideas across superficially different songs, but it’s not a bad album. Worthy if you’re interested in charting the band’s evolution, or if you’re a large fan of the genre, but don’t expect anything too revolutionary.

Electric Wizard is more than just distortion... - 95%

Witchcult_Reverend, July 9th, 2008

I do not understand the complete lack of love for the first Electric Wizard album. I guess too many people have listened to Come My Fanatics and Dopethrone to dismiss this album as second rate doom. On the contrary this is what doom metal is all about. Yes albums previously mentioned are awesome there is no denying it. The clean vocals and straight sounding guitar work is simply perfection by Jus and the boys. This was the first Electric Wizard album I heard from a friend who only likes this album. I knew I was hooked from the opening riff of Stone Magnet.

Every single song is well thought out and plays perfectly from start to finish. There is no excessive amount of feedback, distortion, or other noise to take away from this 47 minute opus. And why should there be? It is great to chart the progress of this band as they are one of my all time favorites but to cast this one off as inferior is complete nonsense.

The highlights are as follows: Stone Magnet (what’s not to love about it – seriously), Behemoth (another solid slab of doom), Mountains of Mars (quite possibly the best 90’s doom metal instrumental – spaced out psychedelic metal at its finest), Devil’s Bride and Mourning Prayer round out the best of the best on this album.

Electric Wizard, Black Butterfly, and the blink you’ll miss it Wooden Pipe round out the rest of the album and it does not disappoint.

Every band has a beginning and Electric Wizard started out in the traditional doom metal vein which is where every metal band is rooted in (Black Sabbath). Listen to it, Love it, and most importantly recommend it.

Average At Best. - 50%

Perplexed_Sjel, July 5th, 2008

Dorset, South West England is the birthplace of Electric Wizard, a now infamous crossover band with huge popularity. Dorset and the South West of England is known for being a popular holiday spot for foreigners and Britons who wish to stay within the country and explore their own backyard. It’s a region of the country that offers a lot of natural beauty and since the year 1993, an adrenaline pumped band by the name of Electric Wizard. It took the band two years from their formation to record and release a debut full-length and in the opinion of many, perhaps the least appealing full-length the band have released to date. In my opinion, 1995’s self-titled debut is the most lacking in terms of character, creativity and performance. Originally formed under the moniker Lord of Putrefaction, Electric Wizard played a different style of crossover music than they do now. It consisted largely of death and doom metal influences. Electric Wizard, on the other hand, fuse the doom and stoner genres together to form a largely uninspired sound by this stage. Fortunately, with the benefit of hindsight, I and many others can state that the band have come on in leaps and bounds since the self-titled snooze fest. I’m not familiar with the works of Lord of Putrefaction, so I cannot state what the work of the band was like in comparison to this new breed. However, I feel that comparisons would probably be inane as the band had obviously taken a drastic new direction at this point in time. A new name, a new brand of music and a new set of fans were what was to come from this change.

The self-titled debut, to me, isn’t a patch on later works. There are several main issues which I have with this work and the few redeeming qualities that there are, aren’t enough to act as a saving grace for this particular piece. Considering the fact that the line-up, bar Jus Oborn, had completely changed, the multiples differences in this band aren’t as surprising as they might have been if the line-up hadn’t altered so drastically. As with Lord of Putrefaction, Jus Oborn takes control of Electric Wizard on guitars, but more importantly, on vocals. The vocals, which aren’t as hypnotizing as they later become, are the best feature of this rather lacklustre effort. One must contribute the fact that this piece isn’t as good because A) The line-up is different. The band needs time to readjust and truly find their sound and B) This is a new style of music for the evolved Lord of Putrefaction. Perfection takes time. As I said, the vocals are the best element of this self-titled work. Take songs like Stone Magnet, for example. Songs such as this clearly show the tremendous ability Jus has on vocals and indicate the beginning of what does turn out to be a very hypnotic career as the leading man behind the microphone. His performances do go from strength to strength, so the fact that his standard of performance isn’t as high on this record as they later become is, in some ways, important. The record is essential listening because it shows the roots of a very talented band.

Whilst the instrumental sections don’t do as much as they could to help Jus in his quest to bring Electric Wizard to the foreground of the metal scene, there are some positives to take. Having said that, one has to remember that Jus himself is on guitar duty, so he cannot be redeemed entirely due to his vocal performance, which is the only outstanding quality of this record. The atmospheric nature of Electric Wizard isn’t, by any means, at it’s peak. The guitars sound laboured and, as they later do, don’t build themselves around the hypnotic nature of Jus’ vocal abilities. The soundscapes sound lazy, which is something that stoner music isn’t unfamiliar with. To me, the vast majority of stoner music sounds lacklustre and lazy. The slow nature isn’t appealing to everyone and whilst I do like a lot of slow music, there needs to be some form of outstanding creativity on guitars, especially and there isn’t. The guitars are poor. The solos do come thick, in particular, and fast, but they’re nothing special in comparison to later material. The bass seems to struggle too. We later learn that the bassist was to be replaced, but not until long after the release of this record, so we do get to see Tim Bagshaw’s performance enhance as time goes on. The bass is often lost in the sea of mediocrity which is spawned by the guitars. The drums aren’t as powerful either. As I said at the beginning of my review, there is no edge, this ultimately turns out to become a snooze fest even though Stone Magnet suggests it might be an inspiring and powerful debut by the Britons. It isn’t until the instrumental song, Mountains Of Mars do we gain some respectability back. The sonic soundscapes caused by mesmerising guitars lead the audience into a corridor of false sense of hope. The underlying tones of beauty are immediately washed away as Behemoth proves to be the opposite of what the title suggests it is. Instead of Electric Wizard putting up the monstrous wall of noise with super sonic sound waves they later become best friends with, they whimper alone and slowly induce the audience into a coma. Lyrically however, Electric Wizard have worked up the type of beauty and rhythm the music can only wish it produced.

“His blackened wings shadow the Earth
This age of fire is his rebirth
Awakened now in these troubled times
He's come to judge us for our crimes


In conclusion, the self-titled debut doesn’t pack quite the same punch as latter records do. Vocally and lyrically, this album begins to show what becomes of the band, but instrumentally Electric Wizard are lacking in true greatness. As disappointing as this album is, I don’t consider it anything other than the beginnings of what went on to be a successful band.

The Beginning of Greatness... - 77%

IrishDeathgrip, March 11th, 2008

...wasn't really that amazing. I first heard the second full-length by Wizard and loved it immediately. But everyone needs to see the beginning for a band they love, and for me, it wasn't the best experience.

That is not, by any means, to say the album is bad... it's just not that fucking good either. The riffs are low, dropped, and crunchy... but also monotonous on many occasions, and not distorted enough to fit the implications of "mind-crushing heaviness."

Jus Osbourn is an effective singer, and his style will be altered throughout the years, but on this album it can easily be described as "fledgling," because he obviously hasn't yet decided how he wants to sing. Are the vocals bad? No. Are they great? At some points, yes. Are they weak? At more points, yes. The singing is inconsistent a lot of the time, and it's hard to get INTO it.

We've hit the vocals, we've hit the guitars. Let's hit the bass. Oh, wait, nevermind, you don't know there's a bass unless you listen to the instrumental. It's groovy... that's all I can say about the bass on this album, cause there's damn near none of it.

The drums... there's nice little fills, consistent sound. I only have a minor bone with the drums that I must pick... the ride. When he's hitting the ride, it overshadows the rest of... well, everything. The ride will come through your speakers like a blaring reminder of what happens when you neglect a volume knob on your mixing board.

As far as the songs go, there are a couple that stand out... Mountains of Mars is a great little instrumental, and definitely the musical high-point (which stands to reason). Behemoth showcases the best vocal performance on this record, and will not grow tiring. Although its not the strongest song musically, the riffs can hold their own. Finally, the title track... a great song, fairly amusing content, and full of compelling music, from start to finish. Nice little clean segment, with a bluesy little feel to it. All around good one.

I would suggest that no one judge the band solely on this album. For a complete converse check out Dopethrone, but this is still a good buy for anyone's doom catalogue.

Decent Sabbath-worship with glimpses of the future - 70%

Fungicide, February 7th, 2005

Before they became one of the leading lights of a vibrant English stoner/doom scene, Electric wizard were a run of the mill Sabbath-worship band. Whilst their earlier output will be of little interest to those without a special interest in the band or the Sabbathesque trad-Doom they played on their first record, the bands self titled debut is not without a certain charm in its own right.
The lyrics touch on the same themes Ozzy’s did in the early 70’s: corrupt politicians, occult ritualism, personal struggle against malign forces, drugs. Whilst the themes are as old as Heavy Metal itself, Jus Osborn (coincidence?) writes slightly more coherently than his predecessor, the dove munching brummy, and (as can be expected from a writer operating within the milieu of a more mature genre) his verses feel more authentic to the modern listener, although they lack the power to shock or subvert that Ozzy’s often fairly naive attempts had when they were still young.
Whilst Osborn’s lyrics surpass those of his heroes on this album, his riffing doesn’t stand up to that of Tommi Iomi, which is not to say that it is poor, but it less consistent in terms of the quality of individual riffs and the manner in which they are arranged. Nor is his riffing style so varied, especially in terms of tempo, with the album chugging away at standard trad-Doom speed throughout. Still, when he is on top of his game, Osborn is a master of the crushing riff, and there are plenty of those scattered through the album, as well as some groovier sections that remind one of Cathedral’s ‘disco doom’, though these are rare and tastefully used. Ocassional a riff gets old for the listener before it does for the band, and some riffs are too monotone, but these are minor complaints and for the most part solid guitar parts are intelligently arranged to good effect.
The bass is surprisingly anonymous, especially for a Doom album, mirroring as it does the movements of the guitar for the most part. However, the instrument does serve to add the requisite weight to the sound, and on rare occasions it even sets the pace of sections providing an interesting counterpoint to the predominantly guitar driven body of the album. The drumming on the album is equally unremarkable, but competent and functional. Neither instrument will draw your attention for long.
Osborn delivers his lyrics in a far cleaner voice than on later albums, which suits the style of the music better than a more abrasive approach would. His vocal lines interact nicely with the instruments, rather than just being there for the sake of it without really relating to what’s going on around, as vocals too often are especially in this sub-genre. However, their lack of variation, and largely subservient role in the compositions might dissatisfy some listeners.
Overall, the album is basically solid, and at times Jus Osborn’s guitar work is excellent, but the lack of inspiration in three of the four instruments (if one includes vox) and the dependence of the album on guitar work with such a small, if eloquently used, musical vocabulary, makes for a record that is not as engaging or as accomplished as the band’s later work.