Electric Wizard has come to reinvigorate reefer rock, and it's going further than any band has previously dared. Though the group seemed like little more than Cathedral's junior cousin on its self-titled 1994 debut, the follow-up, Come My Fanatics . . ., was one of those definitive metal statements that arrives once in a decade, if Satan's feeling generous. The album was so punishingly slow, the lyrics so desolate and despairing, that it felt like Sabbath being covered by the Swans.
And the Birmingham trio was just getting started. Its 1998 EP "Supercoven" featured four songs in 50 minutes. It was followed by Dopethrone, the album with the best cover of 2000 (a van-art-style painting of Satan doing bong hits) and some of the most gut-churning low-end doom riffage since Fudge Tunnel's Hate Songs in E Minor. Now they're back with a sonic departure called Let Us Prey. First of all, some of the songs are actually fast. "We, the Undead" could be a lost Blue Cheer bootleg; "Night of the Shape" is a piano-and-drum-machine instrumental that wouldn't be out of place on Radiohead's Kid A. It probably goes without saying that Electric Wizard in concert might rip your ears right off your head. These guys are the future of seriously heavy underground metal.
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