As Deep Purple's Roger Glover once said, "Heavy isn't about volume, it's about attitude." And no band better illustrates this statement than England's Electric Wizard -- the reputed heaviest band in the universe -- whose every album has managed to push the boundaries of down-tuned, grinding, monolithic doom metal to unprecedented depths. Sure, they pack plenty of volume as well, but none of it could possibly work without the band's uncompromising worship of weed and all things gothic and malevolent. After a long hiatus (during which they were no doubt traveling the cosmos without ever leaving their parent's basements or putting down their bongs), Electric Wizard finally returned to action in the year 2000. The resulting dirge masterpiece, Dopethrone, delivers walls of sound so dense that at first they seem too big to fit into your ears. At a paltry three minutes, the opener "Vinum Sabbathi" may be the Wizards' first true candidate for an actual "single," but it really serves as a teaser for what's to come. Introduced by short spoken intros taken from B-movies a la White Zombie, extended riff-monsters like "Funeralopolis," "I, the Witchfinder," and the three-part colossus "Weird Tales" are vintage Electric Wizard. Though they never exceed a snail's pace, they somehow manage to build in intensity, from single note guitar lines to huge power chords with deliberate, maddening certainty. First-time listeners will find it easier to cope with more compact offerings like "Barbarian" and "We Hate You," but with time, they'll see the light and embrace the obscenely heavy title track, with its patented "Iron Man" oscillating riff. In short, with Dopethrone, Electric Wizard has raised the bar for doom metal achievement in the new millennium -- good luck to the competition. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia
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