ELECTRIC WIZARD — Black Masses

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ELECTRIC WIZARD - Black Masses cover
3.43 | 13 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 2010

Tracklist


1. Black Mass (6:06)
2. Venus in Furs (6:22)
3. The Nightchild (8:02)
4. Patterns of Evil (6:30)
5. Satyr IX (9:58)
6. Turn Off Your Mind (5:51)
7. Scorpio Curse (7:31)
8. Crypt of Drugula (8:49) (instrumental)

Total Time 59:09

Line-up/Musicians


- Jus Oborn / guitar, vocals, sitar
- Liz Buckingham / guitar, hammond organ
- Tas / bass
- Shaun Rutter / drums

Guest/Session:
- Edryd Turner / Mellotron (track 3)

About this release

Label: Rise Above Records
Release Date: November 1, 2010

Released with a slipcase.

Recorded and mixed at Toerag Studios, Hackney, London, May-Aug 2010.

Thanks to Stooge for the addition and UMUR for the updates

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ELECTRIC WIZARD BLACK MASSES reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

UMUR
"Black Masses" is the 7th full-length studio album by UK stoner/doom metal act Electric Wizard. The album was released through Rise Above Records in November 2010. There´s been one lineup change since "Witchcult Today (2007)" as bassist Rob Al-Issa has been replaced by Tas (Real name Tasos Danazoglou).

Stylistically it´s more or less a continuation of the stoner/doom metal style of the predecessor. It´s filthy, distorted, dark, psychadelic, and occasionally quite aggressive. Electric Wizard have always been masters of striking a good balance between crushingly heavy occult themed darkness and psychadelic stoned out jamming. Sometimes it has worked wonders and sometimes it´s been a little less successful. "Black Masses" features both excellent moments and less interesting ones. Typically the more structured parts of the tracks on the album work really well. Aggressive, distorted, and desperate sounding vocals by lead vocalist/guitarist Jus Oborn, crushingly heavy riff and rhythms, all packed in an organic and raw sounding production, which suits the music perfectly. Most tracks have a tendency to drag on for too long though, often closing with what seems like endless repetition of the same riffs/rhythms layered with feedback noises and psychadelic effects. It works well for a minute or two, but then those sections overstay their welcome. The inclusion of the dark droning 8:49 minutes long instrumental "Crypt of Drugula", which closes the album, is also a bit hard on the ears of the listener who just wants something recognisable to hang on to.

When that is said I always praise uncompromising artists, and Electric Wizard definitely belong in that catagory. They obviously play exactly what they want to, when they want to, and although they have a basic musical formula, which has worked well for them for years, they don´t necessarily try and replicate their greatest successes. Upon conclusion "Black Masses" is another quality stoner/doom metal release by Electric Wizard and although it may not be their most innovative album nor their most high quality work a 3.5 star (70%) rating is still well deserved.
Warthur
At first this was the only Electric Wizard album that didn't quite scratch the doom metal riff for me, but over time it's grown on me. The production is different from usual and the band tease out a bit more of their psychedelic side than their crushingly heavy Dopethrone-style side.. The subject matter is the same old territory for the band, though the closing track Crypt of Drugula is a sonic experiment which doesn't quite work and certainly doesn't merit the amount of time allocated to it. (Now, if it had appeared on the previous album - Witchcult Today - as a brief intro to The Satanic Rites of Drugula, that'd rock.) The previous two Electric Wizard Mk. II albums had so successfully salvaged the band's sound, so I think it's fair enough they take a chance to experiment here, even though I'm not quite as enamored of the results as I am of superior Wizard albums.
J-Man
Turn Off Your Mind...

As a person that's never tried drugs in his entire life, one may suspect that I'm missing out on a key aspect of Black Masses. This is one of the trippiest albums I've ever heard, with guitar sounds that are dirty enough to pass from the late 1960's and doomy, sludgy riffs galore. Black Masses is repetitive, monotonous, and has very little variation, but fans of Electric Wizard should expect that by now. When it boils down to my own personal enjoyment, I find my mind wandering after the first couple of songs, and (unfortunately) it seldom returns. This isn't an album for people who like their music to be clean, precise, or emotional - this is rock n' roll in its dirtiest, filthiest, and most unpolished form. People who enjoy Electric Wizard's brand of doom metal should find themselves thoroughly enjoying Black Masses - I'm not sure that I've been totally convinced, though.

The music here is raw, old school doom metal in the vein of Black Sabbath, or even some 60's psych-rock acts. While this sounds like a good concept, the compositions are surprisingly dull and variation is kept to a minimum. While I obviously wasn't expecting any ballads here, every song is based off of a sludgy riff which, in some cases, sounds eerily similar to one another. Picking one song out of the crowd is a difficult task, especially when one considers the ridiculously long playing time. For an album with very little distinction between tracks, a 60 minute playing time is just tedious. There are a few moments here and there that grab my attention, but they are too few and far between to warrant such a running length. The positives here mainly lie in the quality of the musicianship and the retro-sounding production values. Although the production is definitely an acquired taste, it fits the music well and is an instant transporter back to 1969. The drums sound especially excellent as a result of the somewhat muddy production.

Conclusion:

Black Masses should please fans of Electric Wizard, though my personal enjoyment is very limited. People who like old school doom metal and are okay with an extremely repetitive listen should like this album a fair amount. Rating an album like this is difficult, but for now I'll go with 2.5 stars. Although I wouldn't recommend Black Masses to many people I know, there's a market out there that would tremendously enjoy this type of album. As far as my money is concerned, I'll turn elsewhere.

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