Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Electric Wizard - Witchcult Today (2007)

After what I consider to be a not only a career highlight but a statement of intent with the formidable 'We Live', the Wizard fell asleep at the wheel, popped their left front tire on a broken bottle and crashed into a guardrail for the release of the anemic 'Witchcult Today'. Gone are the filthy bass lines of the past, the relentless beatings behind the drum kit and all else that made this band so volatile. The Wizard was laying up in ICU due to an accident no doubt caused by the mass consumption of the drugs needed to create their last album. A residual backlash, if you will.

Part of the problem with this album is the blatant fact that the band were going for a more "easy listening" commercialized vibe this time 'round. Someone done lied to The Wizard and told him he would supply the band with a year's worth of quaaludes and benzos if they would clean up their sound and "play it safe". Predictably, The Wizard's drug-hungry acolytes fell into the trap, hook, line and sinker.

Aside from the rather dull compositions on display, what bothers me most are the terrible drum patterns from Anton Lavey's inbred doppelganger. Upon listening to this guy's "skills" as a percussionist it's easy to tell who staggered away with the lion's share of klonopin, no doubt palmed away in secret. The drum fills on 'Witchcult Today' are thoroughly hysterical and the beats themselves are the equivalent of an infant attempting to walk for the first time. How this cat ended up on not one but TWO Electric Wizard albums is highly indicative of the narcotic consumption of the band's ringleaders.

To be fair, there are, admittedly, a few tracks here that are rather appealing to my ears. Unfortunately it seems that the band were so out of it that they cannibalized whole segments from one track only to regurgitate it back out in the form of another. Don't believe me? Listen to 'Satanic Rites of Drugula' and 'Torquemada '71' back to back and TELL me they're not one and the same!

Everything on this album sounds tired and hungover. I know that many folks consider The Wizard's prime works to be those recorded with the band's initial core though I would fiercely argue that 'We Live' is among the band's more important releases. 'Witchcult', however, is the drop-off and the band's next album, 'Black Masses' is even worse. I can only hope that the band's upcoming and all so brief affair with former drummer Mark Greening is a sign of things long past.

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