Sunday Old School: Electric Wizard
Some bands are almost essential to their respective genres. If one likes thrash metal, there's a better chance than not that the same person will be an Exodus fan. If one likes grindcore, it's extremely likely they will also be a fan of Napalm Death and if one is a fan of doom metal, it's safe to say that Electric Wizard is somewhere in their CD collection. Rightfully so too, as they have released some of the best tunes not only in doom, but all of heavy metal. The band was formed in the market town of Wimborne, Dorset in 1993 by guitarist Jus Oborn after he left the band Eternal, joined in the venture by bass player Tim Bagshaw and drummer Mark Greening. After slugging it out in the live scene for two years, Electric Wizard were able to bag themselves a record deal with Rise Above Records, the label owned by Cathedral frontman Lee Dorrian. They soon released their self-titled, debut album which followed the traditional doom metal style, but was met with many positive reviews. They followed the record shortly afterwards by releasing, "Demon Lung," a split single which was shared with a band named, Our Haunted Kingdom, who themselves have now become a stoner metal favourite, though they are more recognised by their current name, Orange Goblin.
In January 1997, the group marked a milestone in their career when they released their second album, "Come My Fanatics..." which is today considered one of the best albums in the history of doom metal. "Fanatics..." was also labeled by many as one of the heaviest albums released in the 1990s and was followed by a slew of singles and EPs. This time of the band was not met without controversy. Guitarist and singer Oborn was arrested for possession of cannabis, as well as encountering health issues when he was hit by a collapsed eardrum and severed a fingertip in a DIY accident. Oborn was not the only member to have a run in with the law, as Bagshaw was arrested for armed robbery and Greening also found himself in trouble after he was charged with assaulting a police officer. Nevertheless, Electric Wizard arguably outdid themselves in the year 2000 when they released their third album, "Dopethrone." "Dopethrone" was instantly hailed as a masterpiece, with many today ranking it as one of, and in the case of Terrorizer magazine, the best album of the 2000s. The record saw the band adopt a more aggressive tone, leaving behind some of their psychedelic sounds in the process.
"Dopethrone" was succedeed in 2002 by, "Let Us Prey," which was notable for being considerably shorter than previous albums, clocking in at only 43 minutes, as well as featuring a sound more akin to sludge metal than doom. The North American tour for the album did not go well at all for the group, increasing band tensions to breaking point, leading the band to declare that the last date of the tour would be the last show as Electric Wizard. This was not to be the case, as a tour of their native, United Kingdom with Cathedral followed afterwards, though Greening was replaced by Iron Monkey drummer Justin Greaves, who would stay with the band afterwards, though Tim Bagshaw announced that he would be leaving the group. In 2003, Oborn confirmed that Electric Wizard would continue, with himself and Greaves still in the lineup, plus bass player Rob Al-Issa and guitarist Liz Buckingham, Oborn's wife. This new incarnation released, "We Live" in 2004, which continued in the vein of "Let Us Prey" and featured what many considered to be attacks on Bagshaw and Greening by including the statement, "My enemies, I fear not...but God protect me from my friends," as well as dubbing themselves, The Electric Wizard on the front cover and Electric Wizard II on the inside of the packaging.
While, "Let Us Prey" and "We Live" received some backlash, many felt the group had returned to form somewhat with their next album, "Witchcult Today," which was recorded entirely on vintage 1970s equipment and was released in November 2007. It featured a tone less harsh than the previous releases as well as a new drummer in Shaun Rutter and featured such songs as, "Satanic Rites Of Drugula," which the band are known to open with today. Following the departure of Al-Issa, the band hired the tattoo faced Tas Danazoglou and began work on their next album. The new record was finally released in November 2010 (January 2011 in the United States) under the title, "Black Masses." "Black Masses" was eagerly anticipated by many and built up quite a buzz on the internet before it's release, where upon it was met by positive reviews, including a 4/5 rating from this very website. Since the release of, "Black Masses," the band has been touring in support of the record, performing headlining shows in the United Kingdom as well as appearing at major festivals such as Graspop Metal Meeting.
Electric Wizard - "The Living Dead At Manchester Morgue"
Electric Wizard - "Supercoven"
Electric Wizard - "Dopethrone"
Electric Wizard - "Wizard In Black"
Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.
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