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Wizard Rifle - "Speak Loud Say Nothing" (CD)

Wizard Rifle - "Speak Loud Say Nothing" CD cover image

"Speak Loud Say Nothing" track listing:

1. Tears Won't Soften Steel (6:24)
2. Frazetta (4:59)
3. Megatherium (7:30)
4. Nobody (7:07)
5. Leathery Gentlemen (10:32)

Reviewed by on March 26, 2012

"Wizard Rifle is a fireball of energy, always moving and never faltering on its spark against traditional music."

The most lasting impression a band can make is to be labeled “off-beat” or “odd.” The odd albums are the ones that don’t get the big sale numbers or the chart toppers, but can be dusted off a decade from now and still have the same appealing characteristics it did when it was first released. Mr. Bungle, Sigh, and Devin Townsend all went against the grain and came out richer creatively. Wizard Rifle’s debut album “Speak Loud Say Nothing” can get lumped into this description, a stupendous record with value that will extend far beyond 2012.

Wizard Rifle is what would happen if The Dillinger Escape Plan split their band in half, put more doom/sludge into their frenzied math metal, and went bare-bones on everything from their sound to the production. The first few minutes of the album are very disorienting, as the duo of guitarist Max Dameron and drummer Sam Ford slide around tempos and harmonize on vocals. Once some familiarity is established with the jumpy nature of their songs, the album starts to set in. Some may not get this far, and toss it aside as unstable noise; a grave mistake, to be sure.

The daunting objective for any listener of “Speak Loud Say Nothing” is how tough it is to get through, but once the breaking point is passed over, everything makes sense. Having both musicians share vocal duties is endearing, and when Dameron’s crazy guitar leads line up with Ford’s spastic drum fits on “Frazetta,” it’s like a orchestrated machine fueled by the spirits of the damned. “Tears Won’t Soften Steel” echos this vision with a strike of speed and an unhinged vocal performance by both members.

Settling into the unusual side of metal with aloof, Wizard Rifle has the capacity to also play fair and wade around tuneful melodies and more “normal” styles. The groovy percussion and clean guitars at the end of “Nobody” and the singular doomy pace of “Megatherium” are where the band incorporates friendlier styles into their music. They tease the ears for the monstrous ten-minute closer “Leathery Gentlemen,” which is a jaunting listen that crescendos into a momentous instrumental finish as visceral as the hospital shootout in “Hard Boiled.”

Wizard Rifle is a fireball of energy, always moving and never faltering on its spark against traditional music. They are an exciting force that forces its mark on metal, and “Speak Loud Say Nothing” demands its audience to toss away any preconceived views of how music is structured. There’s very little to despise about this compelling debut, and if it doesn’t turn into an underground sensation, disappointment will be the least of the painful emotions unleashed from this writer.

Highs: Inventive mash of sounds, dual vocals harmonize and fuel off each other, fits of energy that is hard to shake off

Lows: May be too quirky for some tastes, takes a few minutes to get adjusted to

Bottom line: Not the easiest album to get into, "Speak Loud Say Nothing" is off the beaten trail and sucks the listener in after a few short minutes.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)