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Electric Wizard : Black Masses

Electric Wizard new drugged-out offering. Takes some time to get used to it...

Coming after 'Witchcult Today' which was nearly perfect, that new opus of the Dorset druids had to meet the challenge and offer as good a follow-up as possible. And I have to admit, upon the first spin, I wasnít really convinced Ė not at all, to be honest. Okay, letís pay no heed to the ugly artwork (but frankly, what was Stephen O'Malley on when designing this...thing? Itís so ugly, it borders on genius you could say; like: itíll do fine on the Lp version, yeehaa!)

Now, Musically, the first listening session gives the impression of another 'Witchcult Today' energized by a significantly increased tempo and filled with melodic lines up to the point that it touches pure poppy moments ('Black Masses' could be whistled in your shower, however it works great!). Donít worry though, Electric Wizard hasnít suddenly become Cindy Und Bert and doesnít begin to rapturously swing ĎDer Hund Von Baskervilleí (check YouTube, youíll understand). The ground stay rather stable: itís a black mass taken from a B movie, but this time its 60's look is fully assumed, like a much better 'Let Us Prey'.

If lots of people on the Internet rave about how Jus Osbornís voice could sound when not treading the old same ritualistic paths (it was about time!), I personally notice the great job done in the guitar department (striking on the superb British Blues 'Scorpio Curse', definitely THE song of the album) as well as on the arrangements: it is far from being as linear as 'Witchcult Today', what, in my humble opinion, was both its strength (an album thought to explode live) and its weakness (it is very repetitive on the whole).

If 'Witchcult Today' dwelled in the 70ís, 'Black Masses' goes back a decade in time and sounds completely rooted in the second half of the 60ís - 'Patterns Of Evil', a Blue Cheerís tune lookalike that would have swallowed two pounds of LSD; 'Venus In Furs' carrying movie references (Mario Bavaís The Whip And The Body / La Frusta e il Corpo) as well as literary ones (Sacher-Masoch); ĎSatyr IXí, which gives the feeling of an Iron Butterflyís version of 'Dopethrone' etc ... Yes, Electric Wizard bet on evolution while remaining firmly anchored to its fundaments. The album is confusing, but addictive and the more you play it, the more you find difficult to fault it. Definitely one of the key-albums of 2010, and probably one of the 2 Ė3 best out of the entire discography of The Wizard. Lucifer commands you to get it quickly.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Black Mass
2. Venus in Furs
3. The Nightchild
4. Patterns of Evil
5. Satyr IX
6. Turn Off Your Mind
7. Scorpio Curse
8. Crypt of Drugula

Duration : Approx. 59 minutes

Visit the Electric Wizard bandpage.

Reviewed on 2010-11-07 by Laurent Lignon
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