Electric Wizard, Satan’s Satyrs | Metro | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Electric Wizard

Electric Wizard

Steve Gullick

Electric Wizard, Satan’s Satyrs 

When: Tue., April 7, 8 p.m. 2015
Price: sold out
This preposterously heavy, luridly nihilistic UK drug-doom band embodies a most excellent metalhead archetype—the hesher from hell, obsessed with witchcraft and death, aflame with otherworldly intoxicants, and beckoning to your children from within an ancient stone circle shrouded by night. Front man Jus Oborn sings in a feral howl that’s part scream, part sneer, and part incantation. The band’s slow-motion paleolithic riffs, down-tuned far enough to suck the light out of the Crystal Cathedral, swing like Poe’s deadly pendulum with a battleship for a blade, their notes dilated with deliciously evil string bends—a single dropped A can open up into yawning blackness as big as the grave of a god. For 20 years Electric Wizard have wrung more ruination from two chords than anyone alive, and even the band’s indulgent effects-pedal freak-outs, layered with samples from news programs and exploitation movies, enhance their aura of diabolical menace. Sometimes the lyrics descend into gleefully campy schlock—“Satanic Rites of Drugula,” on 2007’s Witchcult Today, is about a vampire who gets blazed feeding on doped-up kids—but elsewhere, without losing their horror-comics tone, they strike a nerve. In the hair-raising outro to “Funeralopolis,” from 2000’s Dopethrone, Oborn chants “Nuclear warheads ready to strike / This world is so fucked, let’s end it tonight” over and over, growing more maniacal each time until his voice tears itself to rags in a wretched conflagration of rage and despair—and he’s backed by a blown-and-injected biker-metal crunch that’ll have you rooting for the bombs to fall. Electric Wizard love to invoke lethal amoral cults, peppering their songs with references from their self-aggrandizing private mythology: the supercoven, the chosen few, Saturn’s children, and so on. On their most recent album, last year’s Time to Die (Witchfinder), they’ve titled a track “Destroy Those Who Love God,” and in “I Am Nothing” Oborn sings, “I am nothing / I mean nothing / I see nothing / I feel nothing / As I kill you.” But I suspect they care less about actual occultism than about haunting the nightmares of the pious hypocrites whose desperation to see themselves as persecuted crusaders fighting an unspeakable enemy has led them to pretend, time and time again and at the cost of uncounted innocent lives, that satanic baby murderers are real. For as long as Electric Wizard keep playing that unspeakable enemy, I’ll keep cheering them on. —Philip Montoro

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