Like a sonic devil they tempt your pigeonholing and defining of their sound and with the same Mephistophelian glee side step every attempt with their infernal webs of sound. They are Oregon rockers Wizard Rifle and their latest album epitomises their devilish conjuring of creative deception. Their self-titled offering also provides one of the most rousing and thrilling encounters of the year. Their sound is punk, sludge rock, psych and thrash punk, noise rock, metal and much more besides in one cacophonous temptation; quite simply it is feral rock ‘n’ roll and across forty four minutes pure contagion.
Emerging in Portland in 2009, Wizard Rifle are no newcomers to high praise as their electric live presence, which has seen them share stages with the likes of The Melvins, High On Fire, YOB, Lightning Bolt, Bongzilla, Buzzov*en, Black Cobra, and Church of Misery, over time has been accompanied by two well-received full-lengths in Speak Loud Say of 2012 and Here in the Deadlight two years later. Now the duo of guitarist/vocalist Max Dameron and drummer/vocalist Sam Ford are ready to take on the world with a release which embraces the building blocks of its predecessors and shapes a proposition which defies convention, relishes devouring expectations, and sets out its own unique agenda in virulent noise.
Rocket to Hell ignites the babel of sound devouring the senses from with the album though there is no confusion in its creation and enterprise. The opener teases from its first breath with the plucking of guitar strings, the gentle lure the persuasive deceit before the ferocious babble of sound momentarily waiting to erupt. And break out it does with ravenous intent; the pair’s united vocals as harmonious as they are untamed as around them sonic squalls casts melodic and sonic temptation as raw as it is virulent. The track continues to infectiously nag as it rapaciously ravages, that tempest of flavours previously mentioned blended into a predacious trespass strapped with the keenest of hooks and salacious grooves.
As discord and melody craftily entangle it is a glorious incitement and matched by that within the following Cevaman Waltz. Rhythms prowl as a chugging guitar goes eye to eye with instincts, a devious grin lining rapid grooves and an epidemic of infection while equally compelling vocals ride its hungry currents. Again it is a mix which nags and harries but with less voracity than its predecessor though that is replaced by a pressure of urgency which only accelerates by the minute until erupting in a cyclone of wild and fertile commotion with those original grooves still steering the greed for the band’s invention.
A Celtic spicing infects the compelling landscape of next up Beneath the Spider, its emprise a tapestry of rabid intent and collected melodic dexterity spun with craft and imagination. There is a great manipulation to the Wizard Rifle sound, its hooks and grooves an infestation of the body as melodic irreverence grip the imagination and no more inescapable and powerful than within the eight minutes making up this slice of potent incitement.
The next twelve minutes plus comes in the shape of Funeral of the Sun, the closing cyclonic tempest of the previous track reaped of its incessant sonic persecution by the opening bait of its successor. Dangling acidic guitar lures it entices and then devours in swirls and expulsions of creative ruthlessness and barbarity but an assault which is pure untamed catchiness. Similarly vocals harmoniously invite and venomously bite before the progressive heart of the track emerges to just as potently seduce. The tide of noise cannot be abated for long and it returns but with a much more melodic breath. Pure fascination exudes the track, which never suffers in its length, as pleasure floods ears before it.
V concludes the release, psychedelic seducing radiating from within its intrepid venture of sound and ambition. Seductive and fierce, subtle and bold, the track provides an unpredictable multi-textured furnace of flavour and captivation.
Wizard Rifle’s album is a glorious contradiction; it is animatingly wild yet cleverly composed, boldly untethered but chained to distinct imagination and craft. It is also another of the year’s major pleasures which should see the band burst beyond previous boundaries of attention.
The Wizard Rifle album is out now via Svart Records; available @ https://wizardrifle.bandcamp.com
Pete RingMaster 06/09/2019
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