Electric Wizard – Black Masses Electric Wizard – Black Masses

Electric Wizard - Black Masses


Those chords are the bells of doom. Ever since Black Sabbath’s 1969 debut, Doom metal has gone through some interesting changes. In the earlier portion of the 80s, there was a small yet dedicated movement of bands devoted to the early heavy metal of Sabbath, Blue Cheer and Deep Purple. These classic doom acts (Trouble, St.Vitus, Candlemass, Pagan Altar, Pentagram) defined the doom sound with its penchant for mythology and dark psychedelic undertones. In the early part of the 90’s, Stoner Rock was created to describe bands who made albums which hearkened back to the days of classic doom and early Heavy Metal. The Stoner Rock / Metal scale is vast with Monster Magnet and Kyuss occupying the shallow end while blistering soul crushing doom, like Electric Wizard, resides in the deep.

Electric Wizard began as an innocent doom band with their self titled release. Then something happened. They were possessed by what I believe an ancient hash smoking demon. In 1997, Electric Wizard released Come My Fanatics which went off the edge of distortion and low end chaos. The songs became trudging epics and the vocals were now banshees howling in the wind. Come My Fanatics was not unique as the late 90’s stoner bands silently competed with each other to out doom themselves. In 1997, Acrimony release Tumuli Shroomaroon, Sleep recorded a 70 minute song called Dopesmoker and Bongzilla released the best evil marijuana themed album; Gateway. Since Come My Fanatics, Electric Wizard has been crafting a niche for mind blowing doom that feels like the glow of a blacklight. Black Masses is no different as it tacks up another glowing poster in an already smoke filled room.

The band has gone through many lineup changes leaving only lead singer and founder, Jus Oburn defending the fort. Black Masses continues Electric Wizard’s fascination with horror movies as seen with their 2008 release Witchcult Today. Black Masses is more focused on fantasy than current state of Electric Wizard. The band’s life has been very public as the split with original bassist and drummer, Tim Bagshaw and Mark Greening. The split inspired the fantastic and spiteful album We Live. Rob Al-lssa replaced Bagshoaw on bass for 5 years and has now silently stepped down for Tas (no last name). Black Masses is not reactionary to anything as it feels to be escaping from this world for another.

Much like Witchcult Today, Electric Wizard moves away from the harsh oppressive sound which hallmarked their early 00’s albums. Black Masses is heavy but clean and is more devoted to space than noise. It has to be mentioned that while Electric Wizard has always played the same style of song, it rarely becomes a burden to listen to. Patterns Of Evil makes no leaps and bounds in terms of stoner doom evolution, yet it is fun to listen to. The vocals melt into the air as shouted from a tower; heard from a black lake below.

Black Masses feels escapist yet with the obvious overcast from reality dominating the sky. Constant member changes can wear on a person soul and ability to craft songs. Current guitarist and wife Liz Buckingham is obviously a support through the tumultuous changes facing Electric Wizard. Despite strife and uncertainty Black Masses is an album for the ghouls, vampires and Satanists which inhabit the crisp autumn night.

1. Black Masses
2. Venus in Furs
3. Night Child
4. Patterns of Evil
5. Satyr IX
6. Turn Off Your Mind
7. Scorpio Curse
8. Crypt of Drugula

Electric Wizard - Black Masses, reviewed by Kaptain Carbon on 2011-02-08T12:11:18-08:00 rating 3.6 out of 5

One Response about “Electric Wizard – Black Masses”

  • Ben Sommer says:

    Not a word about how they are unironic devil worshipers/well-wishers??

    Sounds is cool – actually Sabbath-esque, except a Pat DiNizio-sound-alike singing lead.