pistols, on june 17, 2009 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: Only one word needs to be used to describe the riffs on Witchcult Today: HEAVY. After the departure of the original bassist and drummer, Electric Wizard suffered some harsh criticism over their music. And with their albums often being compared to their 2000 release "Dopethrone," the wizard had a lot to live up to. The expectations could have done a lot of damage to most other bands, but Electric Wizard pulled through to release their most critically aclaimed album in 7 years.
The opening title track shows off the bands trademark heavy riffing right from the start, slowly building up momentum until the vocals come in. A few tracks off the album build up in a similar fashion.
All round the album contains some great riffs, although they do at times feel fimiliar. For example the songs "Satanic Rites Of Drugula" and "Torquemada '71" use similar rythms and progressions in their riffs, although they create an entirely different vibe. None of the album leaves you feeling disappointed or wanting more.
Throughout the album the band creates different vibes that fir perfectly into their own sound. "Dunwich" and "torquemada '71" could be just as much at home on a straightforward rock album as they are on witchcult today, although they are still undoubtably heavy. Meanwhile the instrumentals "Raptus" and "Black Magic Rituals And Perversions" are a lot slower, creating a vibe similar to a lot of drone doom bands.
The tone the band used fits with the songs perfectly. The bands vocalist and guitarist Jus Oborn stated in an interview that he loved the sound of 70's rock albums, and to create that tone the band recorded the album entirely on 70's equipment. The result is an album that sounds very clear, but at the same time the guitars have a very fuzzy tone. // 8
Lyrics: The lyrics on Witchcult Today definately showcase the bands love of marijuana, with the drug being mentioned in all but one of the non-instrumental songs. The most creative use of drug references in the album is undoubtably in the song "satanic rites of drugula", which, as the name suggests, deals with a vampire who sucks the blood of stoners to get high.
Most of the lyrics throughout the album deal with the occult, often in a ritual sense, but sometimes with a twist. The song "The Chosen Few" seems to be referencing the band and their fans, but in an occult context. The song includes these lines; "hail covens, this is it, a thousand amps toll the end time riff, the sky a coffin lid, all condemned beneath it's shadow". And this one, referencing the album "dopethrone"; "the time has come, all the chosen time to put down your bongs, take up a knife end a life, legalise drugs and murder."
Meanwhile Torquemada '71 deals with the Hungarian 'blood countess' Elizabeth Bathory, mostly in the chorus. All in all the lyrics are well done, and the vocals suit them well. While on previous release Jus used a more shouted vocal, on witchcult he tends to sing the lyrics a lot more. // 10
Overall Impression: Witchcult Today not only compares well with the bands most popular album Dopethrone, but it holds up well against the entire genre of doom metal. You'll be hard-pressed to find an album that has as many great riffs as this, and even harder to find one that keeps your attention like this does.
In my view you can tell a great album by your inability to have a favourite song or least favourite song from it, and I don't prefer any song from this album to any other. This album is still getting heavy rotation in my CD player months after purchase, and likely will for years to come. If it was stolen I'd be tempted to hunt down whoever did it and beat them viciously, and if I lost it I'd buy a new one. Do yourself a favour and get a copy. // 8
UG Team, on november 22, 2007 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: This album is quite possibly the heaviest offering of 2007 -- forget all your death metal bands, because this is as heavy as it gets. A quick explanation of the sound would be early Sabbath, minus Ozzy on vocals. Yes, I know it's a bit lacking, but it'll have to do. What we're offered in terms of pure sonical production is not something along the lines of the contemporary metal productions we see today. The distortion is far fuzzier (think 1970s) and the drums sound like they did back in the Bonham days. But it all brilliantly complements the overall vibe and the music. // 10
Lyrics: Lyrically, we're thrown some occult themes but nothing totally out of the ordinary given the genre we're dealing with. Torquemada 71 is an interesting choice though, probably dealing with the inquisitor Torquemada (Sixtus IV was crowned Pope in 1471 and would later instate Torquemada). // 7
Overall Impression: As a whole, this is probably one of the best metal albums of the year. The fuzzy, messy and incredibly heavy sound of the album enhances the songs beyond what a contemporary production could do for them. There's a certain tripped-out vibe to their grooving riffs and the jam-sections that follow, while the structures of the songs are fairly easy to follow. It's not overly progressive, we're not treated to long technical passages but this is just one of those albums you should listen to in its entirety, with headphones in a dark room. Standout tracks would be the titletrack and Torquemada 71, but this is just one of those albums where listening to it out of sequence doesn't do it justice. Here's your checklist: headphones, dark room, enjoy. // 9