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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.