Carrying intensive ravenous rhythms with heftier bones than found on over-weight mammoths and more addictive grooves than lined up at the start of a Nascar race, Return to the Infinite is a towering introduction to a band which in one fall have thrust themselves to the fore of European stoner rock. Ten Foot Wizard is a force to be reckoned with and their debut a towering album that gnaws upon, vibrantly assaults, and virulently rampages over the senses whilst igniting them into one of the most thrilling and senses exhilarating experiences this year. Earlier this year we were trodden on by the magnificent Horizontal Life from Oxford band Desert Storm to prove that heavy insatiably melodic metal /rock is breeding major things this side of the globe, and now standing side by side with them Mancunians Ten Foot Wizard unleash their offering to cement the fact that heavy vigorous rock from the UK stands eye to eye with anything elsewhere.
Formed as a side project by the members of Manchester metal band Bisonhammer back in 2009, the quartet has made a slow but steady emergence with just a handful of gigs each subsequent year leading to this point, though through them their live reputation has grown intensively with the band just recently sharing stages with the likes of Karma To Burn and Witch Mountain. Combining the richest essences of blues and stoner rock into at times a cantankerous but always compelling fire of sound and passion, their first album feels like the key to major prospects for the band, though only if the day job allows one suspects. It is fair to say that the release is not unveiling anything unfamiliar to the genre they rampage within but there are not many who can deliver it as excitingly and potently as these guys.
Opening track Rise From Your Grave opens up the invitation with strong guitar flames that tongue the senses before expanding their presence as they are joined by a predatory bass prowl and punchy drums. It is an immediately captivating sound which offers all the spicery you would wish in blues licked stoner rock. Restrained but full of riotous intent the track stomps along with the guitars bringing a persistent riff persuasion speared by excellent hot to touch solos and melodic searing. It is not a thumping invite into the release rhythmically, in fact it seemingly takes it easy on the ear but there is no doubting it is ridiculously easy to succumb to the temptation which breeds from the fine vocals and scintillating guitar enterprise.
Those drums do not stay in their cage for long though as next up Vulture Bitches swaggers and steers into view upon a rhythmic enslavement of pumped up beats instantly joined by the deliciously growling and predatory stroll of the bass. As addictive as a stripper in a shop window, the track is soon squealing its sonic tyres as it takes the hand break off for a pounding ride of heavy coated rock and metal aligned to an evocative blues call which reins in the charge from time to time to tempt out even greater passions for its offering. Like a mix of Kyuss and Sabbath with a touch of Clutch thrown in, the song is a mesh of intrigue and carnivorous hunger sculpted into a neck fatiguing triumph.
At times across the album there is a Danzig feel to things, especially on the vocals, and a gothic breath that adds its influence and no more so than on Real Love. The song is a blood pumping surge of rhythmic probing and uncompromising riffing wrapped in the Glenn Danzig/ Jerry Only like vocal delivery and shadowed clad dour toned horror rock. It is another instantaneous deep hook to the passions, its bait lingering and insatiable giving the following Medicine a challenge to make a strong impression up against it. As the slow crawl of bass and grooves matched by the vocals finger the senses and thoughts the track shows it is no problem, the intimidation and rugged touch of drums and guitars an irresistible lure reinforced by the throaty bass growl and again outstanding vocals. A mid-way switch into an escaping blaze of acidic riffing and rhythmic rabidity ignites the air further before it is all reined back into the delicious almost doom laced crawl.
Six Feet Rising takes a deliberate fiery saunter through the ear, guitar and vocals offloading satisfying blues fumes before making way for the increasing impressing varied bass persuasion. It is the platform for another riveting build into a climactic furnace of sonic brilliance and melodic violation. Once more there is a thick Danzig feel which only pleases and makes a great appetiser for the brewing blues tonic that invigorates every aspect of the track. It’s might is soon given a run for its money by the magnetically grooved Saturnalia and the staggering Fuck!, a track as much punk and noise rock as it is heavy metal and stoner, and a rapturous slab of heavy fisted inventive pleasure.
The closing trio of songs seem to extensively explore more avenues and corners of the band, all meaty in length and intensity though arguably lacking the impact certainly the immediate appeal, of their predecessors. The Storm is a tempest of lip licking grooves and bone resonating rhythms wrapped in a melodic fervour that screams craft and toxicity whilst End of the Line and the closing epic instrumental title track both twist around and enflame mind and heart with melodic and inventive kindling to spark off greater inventive fires, the last song an enthralling expressive journey.
Self-released on their own Beard of Zeus Records, Return to the Infinite is a tremendous and wholly devoured triumph. Watch out for Ten Foot Wizard as they tear up speakers near you as once lost under their sinew shaped spell there is no return.
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