|Review: Charles Dexter Ward - Soothsayer|
Year released: 2020
Genre: Doom Metal
Review online: October 11, 2020
Reviewed by: Mjölnir
Rated 3.2/5 (64%) (5 Votes)
This review is something of a departure for me, as it's the first one where I was directly asked to write it. You see, I happen to know both sole member ZaTau and the artist of the album's excellent cover Lanshii, the former of which decided to ask the third most curmudgeonly reviewer on this site to review an album in a genre he doesn't like. Dude's got balls, I'll give him that. I'll also give him the fact that for what this is, it's pretty decent.
Soothsayer follows the formula Electric Wizard sucked out of a bong decades ago: heavy reverb, toked-up Black Sabbath riffs, and songs about H.P. Lovecraft and getting stoned because you read too much H.P. Lovecraft. However, this follows in the tradition of mid-period Electric Wizard in that it's more than just shitty feedback noises, containing actual distinct songs that sport some decent riffs and even some solid lead work. The vocals are a breathy monotone that sounds like it's coming from a shower stall and don't really build much drama, but they get the job done, though the drums are obviously synthetic. There are some cool songs on this, mostly the instrumental "Wisdom of Woe and Madness" and "The Mad Arab/Call of Cthulhu", and the album overall is better when it speeds up past the trudging haze that makes up most of this album, as on the title track or the exceedingly dull "Pickman's Model". I also have to call out the fact that the opening riff to album closer "Disbelief" is nearly identical to the main riff in "Black Sabbath". C'mon, did you really think no one would notice?
I can't really say this album does a whole lot for me, but as far as Stoner Doom goes, this is at least better than most of the acts I come across. Fans of Electric Wizard will probably like this more than I did, make of that what you will.
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