Halfway through January, cold winds howlin’ outside the window, gut full of gumbo and beer, time for some tunes.
Since Christmas I have been kicking myself pretty much every week as I found so many damn releases from 2013 that I had been missing out on. Sandrider, Future of the Left, Obliterations and now I can add Vancouver’s Black Wizard to the list. The album in question is “Young Wisdom” which was a lucky find during a recent Bandcamp trawl. Released during the summer of last year, it’s a righteous collection of throwback stoner rock, cranked out with plenty of skill and enthusiasm.
Now the whole realm of throwback rock, from psychedelic to stoner and back again, has been becoming thoroughly saturated with new artists over the last couple years. It can make the whole genre seem a little exhausting but it also serves to make bands like this a bit more special because catching someones ear is sure as hell a lot harder in a crowded room. In the case of Black Wizard I was caught not by any individual aspect but by the package as a whole.
Rippin’ guitar leads, a rompin’ and rumblin’ low end, well crafted grooves and real solid vocal line all worked together to grab me by the scruff of the neck before I started to click on by. The real draw however, was the reason I evens started writing in the first place and that is for the damn RIFFS. “Young Wisdom” is packed to the rafters with these bad boys, layering up like the best ice cream sandwich you can imagine.
Just look at a song like “Appetite” or “Spacer” or “Midnight” … well just look at the whole damn album. These boys sure know how to crank out some classic shitrippin tunes, sleazed up and looking tough. They lie firmly in that much loved category of denim vests, dirty hair and small, dark venues, fueled by the occult and the entirety of the 70’s. Simple, innocent fun.
“Appetite” and “Wicked Wanderer” are the last two and also the two standout tracks for me. The former packs some of the tastiest riffs on the album, with neat builds and cyclical rhythms. The mid-song breakdown hammers the point home with a twanging tone change and some honkin’ sirloin riffs. “Wicked Wanderer” wraps their whole sonic package together with a heavy build that works itself up and roars into a real tasty solo to close things out. It’ll put a kink in your neck for damn sure.
“Young Wisdom” may not be an envelope-pusher but it’s an album any fan of the genre will love and I’ll be giving it more than it’s fair share of spins over the coming months.
$5 on Bandcamp. Get shreddy below.