Electric Wizard: Live at Webster Hall 4/2/15

by William Burns

Photo by P Squared Photography

It was 2002 the last time doom metal/occult rock gods Electric Wizard toured the US (they did make a one off appearance at Maryland Deathfest in 2012). Since then, the Wizard have released four albums of horror inspired heaviness (2004’s We Live, 2007’s masterpiece Witchcult Today,  2010’s Black Masses, and 2014’s Time to Die as well as three e.p.’s), had multiple line up changes (most significantly the addition of second guitarist Liz Buckingham), and have mentored several new bands (Blood Ceremony, Satan’s Satyrs, Witchsorrow). Throughout this time, Electric Wizard singer/guitarist Jus Oborn has stayed true to his Euro- cult/sexploitation/biker/Satanic film obsessions, infusing his lyrics, sound, imagery, and cover art with references to Jean Rollin, Hammer Films, Anton LaVey, Aleister Crowley, H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, Sergio Martino, Psychomania, Werewolves on Wheels, Alex Sanders, and pornographic fumetti comics like Zora and Sukia. Electric Wizard created what is considered one of the heaviest, sludgiest, slowest, most fuzzed out stoner epics of all time with 2000’s Dopethrone but have changed over time into more of an aggressively psychedelic hard rock band that conjure ritualistic sounds that mesmerize and exhilarate. The legend of Electric Wizard has grown over the last decade, so much so that their announced concert at Webster Hall in New York City sold out in a day. Anticipation was quite high as metal heads, hipsters, and weirdos of all types filed into the Webster awaiting the arrival of the Wizard. Openers Satan’s Satyrs played a solid set of punked out hyper metal with bass player/singer Clayton Burgess looking like a young Ozzy, pummeling his bass to tracks from their ultra cool albums Die Screaming and Wild Beyond Belief. After a break, the stage went dark and the sounds of thunder and wind filled the hall as Electric Wizard strolled onto the stage to wild cheering and the sparking of many joints. Beginning with the title cut from Witchcult Today, the Wizard locked into an occult groove that never let up. As the band powered through their set, visuals from Jess Franco’s Exorcism and The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein, Crucible of Terror, The Devil’s Wedding Night, and a weird loop of a nude hippie chick tripping out with a skull perfectly accentuated the sleazed out, ominous songs like “Satanic Rites of Drugula,” Return Trip,” “Incense for the Damned” and “The Chosen Few.” Oborn’s guitar playing resembled a combination of Tony Iommi’s blackest riffs and Ron Asheton’s unhinged soloing as he waved his instrument around like a magickal weapon over a hypnotized crowd that could either only nod their heads to each track or attack each other in frenzied ecstasy. The show ended with the epic “Funeralopolis,” and as the Wizard exited the stage, the spell was broken, the ceremony done, and the chosen few disappeared back into darkness of the Gotham night. Who knows when Electric Wizard will return, but the legend of this show will live on in the minds and ears of those who were lucky enough to witness this rare otherworldly sonic equinox.

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