Album Reviews

Electric Wizard – We Live

(rise above) UK release date: 14 June 2004


Those of you who are old and crusty enough to remember the days before CDs, nay the days before tapes, will probably have had a vinyl record player. Thus you will be able to appreciate discovering the novelty of playing 45rpm records at 33rpm and no doubt have shared in the hours of ceaseless amusement provided by turning Robert Plant’s high pitched wail into the growl of one of the monster munch gang.

Well anyway, the ’80s happened and most of us moved on through cassette tapes and onto CDs, which sadly lack this universally genius function, which has been a crying shame – until now that is. For in the form of their fifth studio opus, Electric Wizard have created six songs spanning well over fifty minutes which have been recorded at the slowest speed known to man…and then some.

This said, don’t you even dare think of throwing “Kyuss wanna be’s” or “Stoner misfits” at me. Lumping Electric Wizard into the ‘Stoner’ camp, would be like labelling punk and emo as one in the same, as an hardcore fan will tell you, it just ain’t right. For in Electric Wizard, one is treated to a unique sonic experience that is neither metal, nor stoner, nor psychedelia. This, my dear reader is Doom, and as the name suggests it’s hardly the sorta thing you’d wanna slip on in the background to seduce your next date.

Opener Eko Eko Azarak (alright, so they smoke too much grass!) is split into two movements (you see, sophistication!) and burst is simply the beginning of the soundtrack to molten lava flowing down a mountain. Slow yet unstoppable, consuming everything in its path, there is power in this music that they you couldn’t pack into a nuclear bomb.

Title track We Live is an obvious tip of the joint to Godfathers of the scene, Cathedral and forms one of the more ‘accessible’ numbers on the LP, although to be fair Doom is meant to be experienced, in a very, very loud and preferably live setting. As if responding to the unspoken question of “is it possible to play any slower than that?” with a resounding “HELL YEAH!”, Flower of Evil could have been stolen from Sabbaths‘ early jam sessions, down tuned, and oh, you guessed it, played at 33rpm.

Another Perfect Day, is not quite the follow up to Lou Reed‘s BBC commercial, and sadly neither does it feature Boyzone or Bono midway through. What it is on the other hand is these guys playing at warp speed, which may still sound like sludgy rock to me and you, but is positively thrash metal speed when compared to its kin.

Centred around his love of the occult and horror movies, Justin Osborn’s lyrics aren’t quite as unique as the rest of their sound, but then again, with such a brutally vigorous band avalanching down behind him, he could be screaming away about how much he loves his Gran and trust me, you wouldn’t want to argue.


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Electric Wizard – We Live