My attraction at first to Portland, Oregon’s Wizard Rifle is due to their influences Black Sabbath, Sonic Youth and Lightning Bolt as stated on their website. My thinking was whatever the outcome this isn’t going to be boring or predictable. My instincts are completely right. A former duo they have now expanded into a three-piece band on this album and destroy, if there were any doubts, on what limits a trio can deliver. The three some in question are Max Dameron (guitar and vocals), Sam Ford (drums) and David Boe (bass).
There used to be an abundance of noise, experimental, hardcore rock bands back in the late eighties and early nineties and this does take me back to them times. I am not saying Wizard Rifle are retro or sound dated in fact, not at all, they create a refreshing blast of distorted noise, frenetic playing, unexpected tempo changes, and riffing power.
There is a calm before the storm opening to ‘Crystal Witch’ but not before long the something sinister is lurking behind reaches the surface and erupts with wild shouting style singing ‘I’ll do anything’. And I believe him. From here on Wizard Rifle are possessed by some terrifying force throughout the rest of the album.
‘Buzzsaw babes’ explodes from the drums and bass intro with wild frenzied guitars, which, well, buzz and rage, in classic Big Black style. The drums pummel and pound as they do on every track. This is drumming in the style of the wildest of all drummers ever, yes, Animal from the Muppets.
Wizard Rifle can easily crossover into many rock genres and not many stones are unturned especially in the fields of left field noise rock, doom, hardcore, and thrash, in some cases all within the same song. The vocals throughout the album remain in the back seat so my ageing battered ears have trouble deciphering the lyrics. While the seething drums, bass and guitars dominate in the mix especially in ‘Paul the sky tyrant’. Although in places across the album the drums do get a bit lost behind the guitar fury.
There are clues in the titles of the songs as to where they may be heading. The 9 minutes long ‘Psychodynamo’ starts with warped chord changes, which builds with many twist and turns until steered into a demented pace.
‘Beastwhores’ rages and thrashes like, well, you’ve guessed it, a beast. By the end we are in Slayer intro territory, and then it comes to an abrupt end. It feels like the whole album was constructed to build the momentum to its over the top termination.
”Here in the Deadlights” is creative, uncompromising and bold. Whether this will have longevity or become lost in my collection, to state the obvious, only time will tell. But for now it still has me chuckling with pleasure as I try to fathom out what I can follow it with on my stereo after it leaves me shaking my head in disbelief, and pausing for breath. I certainly look forward to what they will produce next, just don’t expect any limitations.