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Not always even or consistent but worth a listen - 75%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, November 24th, 2012

Short enough at just under 35 minutes to sit through in one go, the "Legalise Drugs and Murder" EP consists of the single of the same name plus its B-side, a remastered version of another song that I think had been released as a single, and some out-takes. It appears to be self-released as well so it may be difficult for some fans to get a-hold of.

It really is best to listen to the entire EP in one hit and let the music wash over you. There are sinister black detours the recording takes you in from which return to the real world will be hard and uncertain, and instrumental parts of the music can be experimental, almost abstract, in interesting ways that complement the psychedelic doom metal style. The title track has a raw and crunchy bass under-rhythm over which a repetitive vocal chorus and a blaring lead guitar riff continually play. The mood of the song is laid-back and a little blissful in a dark way, and the lead guitar solo ranges far and wide with a raw-edged sound in the large sonic spaces opened up by the song's production. "Satyr IX" is firmly situated in doom metal territory with a slow pace and long sub-bass drones that just barely hang together in a loose structure; the 3-minute instrumental introduction could have stood on its own as a track and when the vocal comes in, it's not all that welcome to my ears! However the song does come to life with lead guitar flurries under the singing.

"Murder and Madness", the B-side originally to the "Legalise Drugs and Murder" single, is an experimental piece for Electric Wizard with deranged whispered vocals, suggestive of wild voices in your head telling you to do unspeakable things, and music that begins quietly and simply and which build up, slowly and gradually then quicker and quicker, with repetition and chaos in equal balance. The effect is a short work that starts out as creepy and builds up to hysteria. While the coda might be unexpected for some people, the guitar fade-out in its raw, grainy noise clouds leaves quite an impression on this listener.

Later tracks on the EP come as footnotes to the earlier songs: the best part of "Patterns of Evil" for this listener is the noisy guitar feedback freak-out ending and "Lucifer (We've Gone Too Far)" might be tiresome and repetitive for some listeners. "Our Witchcult Grows ..." is a bit awkward as an acappella stunt of pre-recorded voices manipulated into something weird and demonic and this kind of contorted work seems very much in its infancy where Electric Wizard are concerned; it sounds like it should be an introduction to a longer work. If intended as a stand-alone piece, then it definitely needs more work: the musicians could make it swirly and layer the piece with looped voices so it ends up sounding like a huge massed choir of deranged singers.

The EP definitely has something to offer to long-time fans and new listeners: there's enough familiar hard melodic rock to attract new people and familiar doom metal and psychedelic songs to satisfy fans. The format also is an opportunity for Electric Wizard to try out new ideas, experiment with their style and use mood and improvisation as the major elements in songs. They don't always get it right and the recording is not consistent right across but it's worth hearing out.