Australia’s The Wizar’d have been churning out traditional doom metal since 2004, amassing a solid catalog of four full-length albums and several EPs. Their most recent long player, Subterranean Exile (released April 24th via Cruz Del Sur) is the work of a band comfortable in its own skin. Unlike the death metal-tinged war beat of label mates Stygian Crown, this four-piece kicked out a platter of old-school doom quite at home next to bands like Witchfinder General.
The most pronounced aspect of The Wizar’d’s songwriting is, undoubtedly, Ol’ Rusty’s vocal style – an eccentric, prophet-in-in the forest delivery. His singing will most likely make or break the record as a whole for most listeners. Guitarist and co-vocalist Master of the Night supports the choruses with more traditional backing vocals and his riffing is solid and straightforward. The rhythm section, sporting the Tolkien-inspired stage names of Blackie the Crimson Heretic of a Thousand Eyes [bass] and Maniac Frodsham [drums] take a back seat and push the songs along with solid, supportive parts.
From front-to-back, Subterranean Exile, is a fairly myopic affair not drifting much to either side of the line drawn by the first track, also titled “Subterranean Exile.” Pounding drums mixed with flowing guitar harmonies morph into a rocking, 70s inspired riff throwdown. “Master Of The Night” transitions into the hook-laden “Long Live The Dead” and those two songs are a highlight of this seven-song release. The closing number, “Dark Fortress,” is seven minutes of atmospheric doom and ends the platter on a high note.
As a whole, Subterranean Exile is deeply rooted in classic doom influence and is an endearing trip for fans of the genre.
Order the album in digital, CD, and vinyl formats here.