Gobble gobble, Throwback Thursday lovers! Welcome to TBT and Happy Thanksgiving. For those of you not in the know, this is the place where we get to indulge in nostalgia and wax poetic about excellent metal of years past.
This series embarks on a journey in search of albums that have primed the canvas of today's metal music scene. For this, the seventeenth edition of this series, we take a look at an album drenched in the drug-induced miasma of the unsettling side of doom metal. Where groovy meets grim, we're trippin' into…
Electric Wizard's Witchcult Today
Release Date: November 20th, 2007
Label(s): Rise Above Records (UK), Candlelight Records (US), Leaf Hound Records (Japan)
Just a few days ago, Witchcult Today crossed it's 10th anniversary mark. In the decade since it's release, Witchcult Today has greeted new-school doom fans to a crunchy, sludgy, sparkling, lore-laden side of doom metal that electrifies the synapses in our brains. Electric Wizard formed in from Dorset, England back in 1993. Their lead singer/frontman Jus Oborn has been in the metal scene since 1988, forming the band Lords of Putrefaction. Later on, he band changed its name to Thy Grief Eternal, and eventually just Eternal. After Eternal dissolved in 1993, Oborn formed Electric Wizard. He is currently the only original member.
Early on in their career, Electric Wizard gained attention because of their wild off-stage antics. They had been accused of acts of vandalism such as arson of a car, attempted theft of a crucifix from the top of a church, and least offensive of the charges – stealing booze. As 'metal' as all these incidents were, they plagued the band with setbacks to their recording schedule when the consequences finally caught up with them. Despite all of this, Electric Wizard have sustained a prolific career touting nine studio albums including their brand-new album Wizard Bloody Wizard.
The opening track to their 6th release is also the title track of the album "Witchcult Today":
Now that’s how you start a doom metal album. The spooky and altogether ooky distorted riffs at the beginning build up slowly with a signature of dissonance. Glittering with anticipation, the heavy guitar maintains a melodic drama amid dry, bratty distortion. This is a great example of a neoclassic doom-build up creating atmosphere. "Witchcult Today" feels like having a first drag off a cigarette after a hot and sweaty show when it’s late and you’re still just a liiiiiiiiittle bit drunk.
Like any good modern doom band, Electric Wizard surround themselves with a cloak of classic and campy horror references and inferences. Overt occult allusions and symbols are a staple to the genre of doom metal (and metal shit in general). Electric Wizard takes the imagery a step further by incorporating the everlasting, ever-creepy stories of Lovecraft into song "Dunwitch":
My personal favorite and “fastest” song off this album is based on the H.P. Lovecraft short story “The Dunwitch Horror”. In the tale, an invisible monster terrorizes the fictional town of Dunwitch, Massachusetts. I'd tell you the end, but Lovecraft stories are the kind you don't want to spoil. Anyway, the groovy cadence of the song seems out of place when talking about terrifying instances of disturbing, cosmic horror and "Dunwitch" inappropriately makes you want to boogie regardless of whether you can (or should). Also, good luck getting those hooks out of your brain, -I know I’ll be muttering “The end, has begun…” for the next couple days at least.
A true stoner-metal song, the droning "Satanic Rights of Drugula" makes you wanna chill and partake of the devil's lettuce. The song title is another reference to throwback a horror film, the 1973 piece Satanic Rites of Dracula. And if ya haven't seen the movie, you should know that it stars Christopher Lee as Dracula. If that doesn’t make it a must-see flick for you I don’t know what to tell you, you monster.
I’d throw "Saturnine" in on my desert-driving road music mix in between Kyuss and Truckfighters. What a solid, catchy jam. There’s a palpable psychedelic feel to this song with its higher reaching and sometimes celestial sounding vocals. One of their more 'outside the box' tracks, “Saturnine” has a much more laid-back groove when compared to “Dunwitch”. What I love about Electric Wizard is exemplified in this song. Slow doesn't have to be boring or uninspired. If you're not careful (or sober), the drone will snag you into it's steady, marching trance.
Unafraid to stay classic and unapologetically retro, Electric Wizard sticks to a sound that works. Witchcult Today is a gateway drug to modern doom. This album in offers a trippy experience that's meant to simply be enjoyed for what it is. This album carved out an identity for Electric Wizard in a sea of similar-sounding doom bands. And, I love it.
Are you fans of doom metal? Or do you wish those slow jerks would hurry the fuck up? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think of Electric Wizard and their horror trip into weirdland Witchcult Today. If you want more Electric Wizard, check out our recent review of Wizard Bloody Wizard here. Thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you next week!