Kult Of The Wizard – Gold

Rating: 4/5
Distributor/label: https://interstellarsmokerecords.bigcartel.com
Released: 2020
Buy Album: https://kultofthewizard.bandcamp.com/album/gold
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/kultofthewizard

Band Line-up:

Ryan Janssen – Bass
Jake Anderson – Drums
Aaron Hodgson – Guitars
Mahle Roth – Vocals

Tracklisting:

1 – Burn With The Light
2 – I Dream In Gold
3 – Lay My Head Down (Feel The Rush)
4 – The Hollow
5 – Holy _ Divine
6 – Beyond The Sea
7 – Into The Void
8 – My Home Is Fine
9 – Queen Of Life and Death
Bonus – HoneyBee

Review:

Kult of the Wizard are a doom band on Interstellar Smoke Records, who will be releasing their first full length album ‘Gold’ on 18th December, 2020. It follows three EPs. Their first release ‘The Red Wizard’ (2013), was about man’s destructive nature; ‘The Blue Wizard’ (2014), explored the realms of space; and ‘The White Wizard’ (2015), explored the subject of love. Gold on the other hand, tells an Icarus story of excitement that flies too high then crashes back down to earth. In the end, the listener finds solace in the aftermath. It is a tale of good versus evil and optimism versus gloom.

Because the bluesy-jazzy vocal melodies here are complex, notey and often have an improvised feel, (though clearly a skilful one) they’re perhaps not as catchy as your typical metal group. However, that doesn’t matter, just as improvised guitar solos are perfectly fine, if not strongly appreciated. It’s quite interesting the way the vocals contrast with the instrumental backing which is relatively simple most of the time. (Though ‘I Dream in Gold’ does have a cool bass solo). The stoner doom riffs here are often super cliched pentatonic/blues scale ideas that are repetitive and sludgy in Black Sabbath style, but there are plenty of more interesting sections that are more ambient in instrumentation, with those excellently delivered, dark and moody vocals on top. 

Such lighter textures really get going from the 6th track onwards. (The 5th track is more of an interlude). However, whilst more innovative, they do lack that satisfying heaviness that fans of doom/stoner music will crave. But not to worry! The more epic tracks 7 and 8, ‘Into the Void’ and ‘My Home is Fine’ do have a mixture of the two styles, which should please both sets of fans, along with the proggers out there. Think a more morbid version of Pink Floyd – not exactly virtuosic, but well thought out and somewhat surreal. Track 9 ‘Queen of Life and Death’ is a purer version of ambience with its melancholy solo keyboard parts accompanying the singer, making the whole album a rather interesting story, thought slightly anticlimactic. However, the bonus track at the end ‘Honey Bee’ is far more cheerful and emotionally intriguing, too. I guess the choice is yours whether you consider it a ’true’ part of the release. 

In conclusion, this is a great musical journey for the most part. The first four track’s guitar parts stand out as very tired, but the vocalist mostly saves them with her much more unique vocal style that is very contrasting with metal and highly skilled. There is nothing (too) wrong with taking old genres into new directions. As stated earlier, the singer has a very spontaneous sound which is quite curious. As her melodies are so much more complex than usual, that does mean that ‘learning’ the album with repeated listens is more fun. Not exactly challenging, let’s not go crazy; because of the bluesy roots, things never get massively sophisticated, but few will care. Definitely recommended!

Review by Simon Wiedemann
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