Friday, October 19, 2012

Free Music Friday: Wizard Smoke- "The Speed of Smoke"

It's time for another weekend, which means another new album for you to study and enjoy. Today's free album comes courtesy of Atlanta-based sludgelords Wizard Smoke. If the name seems a bit ridiculous to you, then you probably shouldn't read on. While their name conjures up images of Gandalf enjoying his pipeweeds, their music is sure to bash in your skull at a slow and steady pace.

Opening this massive album is the intimidating "Dead Wood," a mid-paced jam with distant shrieks cutting through the thick and heavy layers of guitars and drums. All the harsh vocals on this album sound as though they're being screamed from across a vast chasm, or perhaps from an evil wizard calling out from another dimension. I'm a sucker for that distant reverb-heavy sound, and Wizard Smoke seem to be on the same page. Despite their love for a good groove, these guys aren't afraid to get a bit spacey and psychedelic, which is an excellent addition. There are so many solid guitar leads throughout the album, adding layers of light and contrast to the bleak cosmic doom that makes up the majority of this band's songwriting. It's the little accents that really bring out the strengths of a band like Wizard Smoke. Solid repetition can be enjoyable, but the subtle variations that may go unnoticed keep a steady groove from becoming a monotonous task. I find myself nodding my head along through the entire 45 minutes of this mammoth of an album, which is pretty awesome. My personal favorite track on the album is the psychedelic dirge, "Weakling," which features heavily processed vocals that sound alien in origin over a solid, aggressive groove, which eventually boils over and dissolves into the haunting intro for the nearly eleven minute epic, "Growing." If you want to get down to some great sludge, find it here.

Each song on this album has a sold mix of old and new ideas. Some of the riffs feel like they were pulled from the same bluesy swamps from which Black Sabbath crafted their first album, and some moments here feel like they'd be more at home sharing a stage with the ferocity of a band like Thou. It's really wonderful to have a band cover the entire progression of a genre in one album like this. I feel like I've listened to five equally relevant blues, metal, and rock albums in the time it took me to listen to this one piece of metal fury. If you're into any sort of slow and heavy music, you should give this album a listen. After all, the band themselves have it up for free download on their website. If you're like me and think you may want a physical copy of this beast after your repeated visits with this smoky stompy album, the band appear to have some copies of the cassette left in their online store for only five bucks. Doom on, and I'll see you next Friday for another freebie.

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