In comparison to the more meandering execution seen on 2015’s Doomchild, Wizzerd’s self-titled album isn’t afraid to get down and dirty. The Montana group still carries out a classic doom style through a stonerized lens, but the drums and guitar playing have considerably more muscle behind them this time around. The tempos also show off more hustle whether they be in the borderline punk of the opening “Great Mother Gaia” and “Phoenix,” the downcast mid-tempo of “The Doomed,” or both as demonstrated on “Warrior” and the colossal “Dragon.”
Keeping with the fantasy-themed lyrics, the band also finds plenty of ways to make their dynamics a little grander. There’s nothing on the scale of the previous album’s thirteen-minute-long “Desert,” but longer overall average runtimes present more opportunities for stylistic shifts. “King of Esbat” is an early case with a midway folk shift pulled straight out of Sabbath’s Volume 4 and “Wizard” opts for all-out psychedelia. “Wraith” offers the album’s most stirring display as its keyboard-driven intro is soon met with a fuzzy bass-heavy plod complete with villainous vocal layers.
Through it all the musicianship stays consistently energetic. The performances often feel loose and off-the-cuff, especially the drums, but you can always tell that the members are on the same page. The arrangements’ different parts are thoughtfully interwoven, and the rhythms hit hard regardless of the mood at hand. The vocals may ultimately be the band’s most distinct asset though, putting a burly baritone with the occasional screamed segment thrown in for good measure.
Overall, there’s a lot of power and prowess displayed on Wizzerd’s second album. While this particular iteration of the stoner doom style can seem rather meat and potatoes on the surface, the multi-faceted songwriting is serviced by the band’s rather haphazard musicianship. Self-titling a band’s second album may risk erasure of the first, but this album is truly the most definitive effort that Wizzerd has presented us with thus far.
“King of Esbat”