Monday, December 7, 2009
HAPPY HOLIDAYS//HEAVY 101
I doubt I'll be posting on here again before the New Year, so I thought I'd end the first full year of Girth Crisis, one of few posts, with a special Holiday treat. I believe I've used ELECTRIC WIZARD as a reference point when describing various bands on here, but have failed to post anything by the good Wizard itself. Well, a little background, then I'll make with the links.
I'd heard Electric Wizard was mind-blowing from some pretty respectable sources, but it took me a while to check them out. For whatever reason, the concept of slow, heavy, weed-reeking, disgusting vibes had limited appeal for me, so I kept listening to Pg.99 and really didn't budge on the issue. One day, on a whim during a particularly depressing day or evening in my old dorm room, I read one last time that Dopethrone was a bona fide classic, making every other "heavy" band look like lightweights.
In retrospect, it was a great idea to start there. Dopethrone begins with what probably is the Wizard's most accessible song, "Vinum Sabbathi," a three-minutes-and-change introduction to what instantly became one of my favorite bands. Calling Dopethrone "heavy" is like saying that Rush are "good musicians" or George Carlin was a "funny guy." The record flat-out crushes, every riff sounds like something Master of Reality-era Sabbath wrote, forgot about, handed off to Jus Oborn, and asked for it to be tuned down like five steps, the drummer, Mark Greening, hits the drums harder than anyone I've ever heard, with the possible exception of Bill Ward himself, and Tim Bagshaw's bass just adds to the heaviness. Jus' vocals are distorted, low in the mix, and pure hate, spewing some of the coolest lyrics I've ever heard. Dopethrone is a modern-day classic.
From there I went to Come My Fanatics..., Dopethrone's full-length predecessor, which is a tad less heavy and hateful (but only a tad), but about 99% the classic Dopethrone is. "Return Trip" and "Wizard in Black" are both up there with the Wizard's best songs, and I count them among my favorites. No song on the album proper clocks in at under 6:42, making this record a slightly more challenging listen, which is probably the only thing keeping it from reaching the heights of Dopethrone. The first record, the self-titled, doesn't quite run with those two, but still shows a band reigning far above most any other band daring to play heavy and slow. The two EPs I'm putting up, Supercoven and Chrono.Naut, only add to the madness, and "Supercoven" is a particularly great track.
Alas, all was not all in the Wizard camp. After the somewhat-disappointing follow-up to Dopethrone, Let Us Prey, Bagshaw and Greening left to form the great Ramesses, whose EP was covered in a recent post. Electric Wizard Mk. II soon emerged with 2004's We Live, which was an improvement over its predecessor but failed to reach the heights of vintage Wizard. 2007's Witchcult Today was a much more solid effort, and though I did not include it here, it is thoroughly worth checking out. Anyway, you probably want me to shut up and post the links:
Come My Fanatics... (Incl. bonus tracks): buy/download
Electric Wizard: buy/download