Dirt WizardDirt Wizard are four no-nonsense dudes from Illinois whom don’t even bother with surnames as far as I can tell. I certainly don’t know if they’re named after the Red Fang song, but it’s possible given the kind of boisterous, stoner rock n’ roll they play.

Right off the bat on ‘Amis Tabu’ there’s an upfront intensity, a sprightly aggression not often heard on stoner records. These guys are animated, stoked and super-keen to bash your ears in. Also, there’s weird feedback effects which remind me of Turbowolf‘s use of unusual sounds to brighten the dark rock palette. Nice start.

Similarly, ‘Season of the Sun’ has a rollicking, punky energy that weirdly brings Girlschool to mind! It rather fizzles out though, pulling into too familiar a stoner lay-by and nodding itself into trance. It could have done with an edit really. Don’t lose that intensity guys!

Oops – next song ‘Devil’s Velvet’ lacks any vocal bite and just feels like a riff looking for some creativity to latch onto. In fact, now I mention it, the whole album suffers from the vocals being buried way down in the mix – maybe Zak and Sam are not especially confident singers, but I do think they could have fronted it out and just hollered in your face at top volume as the mood and tunes deserve it!

Now ‘Fleas’ does scratch what itches with more fucked-up and ornery guitars played at hardcore pace with a great mercurial solo. It’s nearly over already but ‘Ged of Earthsea’ totally completes the turnaround with a poppier tune mixed with Uncle Acid retro rock tones and a Primus-ish leftfield vibe. It has lovely singsong style guitar leads right from the Thin Lizzy handbook too. It’s not as bonkers as that makes it sound but it’s the most ambitious piece here, but still filthy and base, just how we like it.

“No Son Of Mine” is well worth your attention and you have to see the cover. I can’t decide whether it’s the best or worst I’ve ever seen. It looks like something Napoleon Dynamite would draw in between all those ligers. It’s a potentially frightening insight into the minds of Dirt Wizard.

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