Witchcult Today (Rise Above)
Metal die-hards can rest easy. Electric Wizard hasn’t released anything for three years, but the band is still making epic, brooding, behemoth songs. “Black Magic Rituals & Perversion,” for example, clocks in at 11 minutes, and it’s more of a stoner fête than the rest of the album’s offerings, reminiscent of 2002’s Let Us Prey with Jus Oborn and Liz Buckingham’s guitars fuzzed out to the nth degree. Electric Wizard is still one of the heaviest bands in the world.
While not as dirty or wondrously sloppy as 2000’s Dopethrone, Witchcult Today is still a drone fest, with gloomy, resonant elongations that encapsulate all things cultic and mordantly beautiful. On “Satanic Rites of Drugula,” Osborn’s eerie echoed vocals affirm the basic tenets of classic doom, the stuff that H.P. Lovecraft would dig.
The drums aren’t as prominent or as loud as they once were, back when ex-Iron Monkey member Justin Greaves was behind the throne. The new drummer, Shaun Rutter, can thrash with enough cocksureness to keep things as malignant and foreboding as Electric Wizard should be, but we sure do miss Greaves’ methodical stickmanship. Just listen to ’95s “Mountains of Mars” and you’ll hear the difference.