Doom legends Electric Wizard are back after a brief hiatus and now find themselves on Candlelight Records for their latest platter of psychedelic dirges titled Witchcult Today. If you've followed this band at all in the past, you should be well aware of their brand of early 70's Black Sabbath inspired sludge rock, from the evil & heavy riffs, the reverb soaked vocals, all the way down to the creepy CD cover art. The line-up for the album is Jus Osborn on vocals & guitar, Liz Buckingham on guitar, Rob Al-Issa on bass, and new drummer Shaun Rutter, who replaced Justin Greaves. Together, this foursome have put together a molten slab o' doom here, each of the eight numbers just seeting with huge bottom end, waves of feedback, massively slow & heavy riffs, plodding drums, and droning vocals.
The opening title track is a real psychedelic crusher that could have easily been recorded in 1971. The same could be said for "Dunwich", a tune with a real brontosaurus stomp of a riff, with Osborn's vocals sounding like a cross between Ozzy & Lemmy. Things get even slower and heavier on "Satanic Rites of Drugula", which sounds like a leftover from Masters of Reality save for some bluesy, almost Southern Rock-ish vocals from Osborn. After the brief acid-trip instrumental "Raptus" comes the pounding "Chosen Few", a tune with some heavy riffs, searing guitar solos, and even some background keyboards, but by this time the band almost sounds like they are rehashing ideas from the first few songs. By the time the huge sounds of " Torquemada 71" burst from your speakers, you almost forget about any thoughts of redundancy, and then once the drug induced nightmare called "Black Magic Rituals & Perversions" gets underway, the album almost becomes a different listening experience altogether. This one is an epic length instrumental, with plenty of creepy atmospherics, slow & brutal riffs, some spoken word narration, tribal drum fills, feedback, and anything else the band could use to add to the eerie factor. Imagine if you will early Black Widow having a dinner party with Goblin and Black Sabbath and you have an idea of where the band is at on this one. The final cut on the album is a pure Sabbath-ian doomy delight, with lots of tasty riffs and Osborn's vocals having an almost Jim Morrison-meets-Ian Anderson feel to them.
It's hard not to like an album like Witchcult Today, or any release in the Electric Wizard discography for that matter. Yeah, it's pretty derivative of the Black Sabbath style and all, but damn if there aren't enough crushing riffs to keep you occupied for days on end here. So turn down the lights, plug in your lava lamp, and spark up your favorite you know what...whatever you need to do to set the mood, get ready for a heavy mind trip with this one.
1. Witchcult Today
3. Satanic Rites of Drugula
4. Raptus [Instrumental]
5. Chosen Few
6. Torquemada 71
7. Black Magic Rituals & Perversions: Frisson des Vampires/Zora