Electric Wizard In L.A.: Live Review

By on 23 April 2015

Pic: Bobby Talamine

Electric Wizard have recently finished their American tour with Satan’s Satyrs in support, and our very own L.A. correspondent Joshua Sindell witnessed both bands laying waste to The Roxy on Sunday. Here’s what he thought of the experience…

APRIL 19th, 2015

Since the last time this venerable Sunset Strip venue opened its doors to an English doom crew (the diabolically tuneful Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats) turned out so well, tonight the Roxy welcomes Electric Wizard, the surliest of all UK doom bands.

But tonight the Roxy does us a wrong by forcing Wizard‘s tourmates Satan’s Satyrs to take the stage way too early, thereby shutting out a great many, who miss the Virginia trio’s balls-out homage to ’60s proto-metal freak-out subculture, such as Blue Cheer and all their hellborn hellspawn. Yet, while the band champion a brilliant sound and time, singer-bassist Clayton Burgess is much more a convincing frontman when he clams up. The bassist, tonight pulling double-duty by serving with Electric Wizard in the bass role, does himself few favours when he sings in his wildly off-key howl, which sadly appears his normal state of affairs. Can’t fault their licks or imagery; only the vocals.

Sometimes, beasts are so fascinating to us simply because they are such BEASTS. When captured at the absolute height of their intensity, Electric Wizard are capable of inspiring the terrifying awe one might feel when a behemoth of an animal focuses all of its attention wholly upon you. Jus Oborn, slouching toward Bethlehem (or maybe just West Hollywood), begins matters with minutes of thick, earwax-clearing feedback, before giving the nod to bassist Burgess and that blonde-tressed, white witch of doom, Liz Buckingham. Flanked by his faithful familiars, the head warlock proceeds to open his trick-bag full of assorted and devilish riffs.

Can it be that the Wizard are possibly sexier than Sabbath, even when the Birmingham founding fathers were this young? Sure, these colossal riffs seek to enslave, dominate and pummel, but by god, they sure do swing as well, getting heads nodding and hips swaying. The projected occult films from the 1970s add atmosphere as they perform, but when the subjects of Oborn’s songs include drug-addled vampires and death cults, the movies aren’t really a necessity. Oborn may sing about dying and the horror-filled depravity, but the sound of this band hitting its current peak is downright life-affirming.

WORDS: Joshua Sindell

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