Electric Wizard - Let Us Prey
Rise Above
Stoner Doom
6 songs (43:49)
Release year: 2002
Electric Wizard, Rise Above
Reviewed by Dylan
Archive review
No matter where you are on earth, Electric Wizard will slow down time and bend the space around you. They represent doom metal in its most irreverent and hopeless form. The atmosphere present on what is commonly seen as their finest effort, Dopethrone, was so thick it hurt. Jus Oborn’s suffocating vocals and the crushing bass work of Tim Bagshaw made the record the sonic equivalent of being on a planet made entirely of cannabis. Let Us Prey was that classic’s successor, and still is arguably the darkest album in the band’s discography. It still sounds like all the members are stoned out of their skulls, but they are pissed off as well, leading me to believe that their favorite plant in existence couldn’t have been the only chemical influence. Perhaps internal tensions within the band were reaching a melting point, since this was the last album with the original lineup before Bagshaw and drummer Mark Greening left to form Ramesses. Whatever inspired the frustration heard here, it still feels as if you are on a giant planet overflowing with weed. It’s just that the gravity has now been increased tenfold.

Rhapsody is epic, Decrepit Birth is brutal, but The Wizard is fucking heavy. Their roots lie in Black Sabbath’s seminal sound, but they inject, beat, and twist it until it is something different entirely. The band toned down their suffocating heaviness with 2007’s Witchcult Today, which made the songs a lot easier to individually grasp. It’s a completely different situation here, as every riff blurs into the next one. Oborn’s voice sounds like it is coming from another room, similar to the suffocating mix it received on Dopethrone. I’m usually one to praise production jobs of Neil Kernon clarity, but a crystal clear mix simply wouldn’t match the loose, dense style of Electric Wizard. It would also ruin the extremely hot, heavy atmosphere present on this record.

…A Chosen Few opens things off with a lurching doom riff and the haunting, I’m-obliviously-stoned-but-hardly-give-a-damn vocals of Oborn. Ending in the painful wail of feedback, it’s a song that gives you the impression that not everything is right with this picture, and probably won’t get better. We, The Undead reinforces that notion and is noteworthy for the fast tempo (by Wizard standards anyway), and painfully cathartic vocal performance. Even though the song would fit better on a Superjoint Ritual record, it is a nice change of pace from what we are used to from these stoners.

Luckily, Oborn and friends don’t sound pissed off all the time. The Outsider gives off a feeling of wandering desperation, thanks to the irreverent musicianship and yearning vocals of Oborn. Priestess of Mars couldn’t be more different. It is pure, pissed off, slow doom metal. The aggression and frustration of everything in the lives of the band members sounds like it is flowing out of them. It’s pessimism in its slowest form, and is a standout track.

Surprisingly, there are two instrumentals on an album that had six songs, (if you got the re-issue like I did, the ratio changes to 3:7). One is a droning riff that drags on for 9 minutes, and is the song I found myself repeatedly skipping. The other one is much shorter, and much creepier. Featuring an eerie piano motif, what sounds like a synthesizer imitating some sort of horn and an upbeat rhythm on the drums, it comes off as a very creepy jazz song that somehow fits on a doom metal album. The third instrumental, Mother of Serpents (which will be easy to find in the U.S., but difficult to come by elsewhere) is absolutely terrifying. The droning bass line, combined with the simple, yet unbelievably ominous melody coming from Oborn’s guitar is something else. The atmosphere created by it is so threatening, I could feel my heart rate increase as the track wore on. If you happen to find the 2006 re-issue, this bonus track makes the album that much more worthwhile.

While Let Us Prey isn’t quite as mandatory as it’s older brother, it is a very strong and engaging album from these masters of doom. This is one of those albums you have to be in the mood for. Recommended for when your entire world seems to have gone to hell and you don’t really care one way or the other if it ever gets back to the way it was.
Killing Songs :
We, The Undead, The Outsider, and Priestess of Mars.
Dylan quoted 85 / 100
Adam quoted 88 / 100
Other albums by Electric Wizard that we have reviewed:
Electric Wizard - Black Masses reviewed by Charles and quoted 83 / 100
Electric Wizard - Witchcult Today reviewed by Adam and quoted 80 / 100
Electric Wizard - Dopethrone reviewed by Adam and quoted 94 / 100
3 readers voted
Your quote was: 90.
Change your vote

There are 5 replies to this review. Last one on Tue Jun 10, 2008 8:14 pm
View and Post comments