Metal Hammer (UK)
ELECTRIC WIZARD CHURCH OF MISERY/CONAN
SHEPHERD’S BUSH EMPIRE, LONDON Tonight’s enticing Tasting
Dorset’s doomlords assault all the senses
menu of doom kicks off with the unearthly grind of Liverpool’s conan. Jon Davis’s maniacal howl is a highlight, and a high-speed clatter through Paincantation draws a set of oppressive, crunching impact to a surprisingly upbeat climax. Japanese Sabbath freaks and serial killer obsessives church of Misery follow, their devotion to the Brummie pioneers confirmed by the appearance of the Sab’s Fallen Angel logo on their backdrop. They’re a joy to watch; Tatsu Mikami wears his bass below his knees, guitarist Yasuto Muraki hides behind a curtain of hair that barely parts and has his Marshalls stacked sideways, while frontman Hiroyuki Takano adds screeching theremin to the band’s malevolent churn.
On paper electric WIZARD don’t offer much beyond what the supports have already provided: demonic riffs, downtuned guitar, fuzz and ferocity. But from these basic ingredients Jus Oborn’s band have built something that’s so much more than the sum of its parts. An intro tape of Celtic Frost’s Procreation (Of The Wicked) sets the scene perfectly, and while Wizard’s work is more immediate in smaller venues – where the claustrophobic intensity they generate is easier to come by – they’re by no means dwarfed by this grand old theatre. They’re determinedly old school, from a world of oil wheels and lava lamps and patchouli and glitchy VHS tapes of ancient horror movies, and the end result is a genuine assault on the senses. Blood-drenched nudes populate the back projections and the malignant riffs complete the package.
Over the course of the set it all becomes a disorientating tangle, a demented alchemy of vision and volume. Black Mass sounds like a Hawkwind 45 played at 33, Satanic
Rites Of Drugula is monstrous to the core, and the closing Funeralopolis ends in drawn-out, feverish, feedbacksaturated collapse. Tumultuous.