posted on 11/2004 By:
Just when it looked like Electric Wizard were going to abdicate their Dopethrone amongst doom metal royalty, the band returns with the triumphantly titled We Live. After the band’s last tour, Tim Bagshaw and Mark Greening, the rhythm section and two thirds of Electric Wizard, left the band and later went on to form Ramesses. Not to be outdone, Jus Osborn put together a new line up including Justin Greaves on drums (Iron Monkey, Teeth of Lions Rule the Divine), Rob Al-Issa on bass, and interestingly enough a second guitar player, Liz Buckingham (13, Sourvein). The new line up seems to have injected new life into Osborn, and We Live is a strong comeback album for the doom purveyors.
We Live is a more focused effort than some of Electric Wizard’s recent work. For better or worse, the distorted vocals are gone, as is much of the swirling, spacey element. What’s left is straight ahead doom–heavier than Ruben Studdard on elephant tranquilizers and slower than Jessica Simpson doing long division. Gargantuan fuzzy riffs and pounding drums will keep your head bobbing in appreciation. Greaves shines as a more than competent replacement on the drums, and Buckingham’s second guitar adds depth and texture to the material. The bass drones, and frequently so do Osborn’s anguished vocals. More focused–yes. Happier–no. Still a dark and unhappy band it seems, as the occult and misery are still the order of the day. The sarcastically titled “Another Perfect Day?” describes anything but, and coincidentally (or not) the song tumbles in a loose riff that wouldn’t sound out of place on Motorhead’s Another Perfect Day. “Flower of Evil A.K.A. Malfiore” is seven minutes of doom mastery, beginning with slow, crashing riffs and building to an intense crescendo. The song also sports the best of Osborn’s clean vocals. The clean style generally works well throughout the album, but there are sections on a couple tracks where the style gets a bit monotonous and grating. The album closes with “Saturn’s Children”, fourteen minutes of painstakingly slow, churning doom.
Alright, so maybe this won’t supplant Dopethrone or Come My Fanatics... as your favorite Electric Wizard album, but does it really need to? The fact that there is a new album at all is welcome, that We Live is actually a strong album is a pleasant surprise. And to think, this is only a transitional album...
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