England's ELECTRIC WIZARD have always stood out from the doom masses because of the way their music reaches beyond mere drone and riff distortion, sending the listener tumbling into the depths of the group's strange, mind altering world. The release of 2004's "We Live" had some questioning the cleaner sound and more traditional (relatively, of course) vocal style, but few would argue that it was another defining, albeit different, album. Still, one wondered if the band would ever birth another herb enhanced, mind numbing musical maze of an album like 2001's "Dopethrone". The answer is heard on "Witchcult Today", a disc that yet again separates the act from the pack and borrows from the early works, while continuing to incorporate the tunefulness heard on "We Rise".
A transition of sorts, "We Live" marked the first album on which ex-SOURVEIN guitarist Liz Buckingham participated. Three years later and you can hear the difference that group chemistry makes on an album. The guitar work from Buckingham and main man/vocalist Jus Osborn complement, compete, and crush in a swirl of crusty tones and psychedelic bliss on "Witchcult Today". Back is the warm, organic production that recalls '70s vinyl and urges the listener to lose himself with a pair of headphones in a dimly lit, smoky room.
But as important as mood creation and trance inducing musicality may be to the album's success, the songs themselves are not without melody and structure, regardless of the various sonic detours taken during each track. Songs like "Satanic Rites of Drugula", "Torquemada '71", and the title track are as catchy as they are tripped out, a combination a lesser band would have failed in creating. As with any ELECTRIC WIZARD album, the vibe is paramount and on "Witchcult Today" that quality oozes from the speakers. However, one cannot discount the care that was taken in crafting songs that take on a life of their own, ultimately sucking in the listener and keeping him there. ELECTRIC WIZARD may tweak its brand of doom from time to time, maybe even causing some of the devotees to question the path taken, but never do they truly disappoint.