Wizard Eye is from Philadelphia. I love Philadelphia. Growing up in the middle of Pennsylvania where there wasn’t, and still isn’t, shit for rock ‘n’ roll, we’d head to the City of Brotherly Love for shows when I was kid. It was always an adventure. From wandering around an empty warehouse looking for a Fu Manchu/Anthrax show to seeing Ed Mundell show up to a Bitchwax show, only moments before they went onstage, with a blonde on either arm. Something rad is always jiving in Philly! My favorite BMX’er, Van Homan, lives there. The Rocky movies were set there. And that Philly/Jersey region is just rife with heavy-ass stoner rock bands. Monster Magnet, Atomic Bitchwax, Halfway To Gone, Solarized, Solace, Core, Backwoods Payback, I mean, balls on fire! What a scene!
We’re here to talk about Wizard Eye’s second slab of goodies. This Self-Titled record via Black Monk Records, follows 2010’s Orbital Rites record and has been widely anticipated around the interwebs. The band’s bio has all of the good buzz words I like to see, like “fuzz,” “otherworldly,” and “titanic.” Let’s crack it open and see if Wizard Eye’s new cut can hang with the playboys of the Mid-Atlantic region.
Eye Of The Deep starts off the album with some psychedelic spaciness and tribal drums before a nifty wah-bass break. Then the first of many riffs hits in this mid-tempo jam. Only 1:45 in and it just sounds like the area. Not crushingly heavy, but down tuned and fat, lots of envelope filter bass and soaring leads capped by some epic, doom accents to close it out.
Flying Falling morphs out of the opener with a moody bass line and it’s apparent these guys, while only a trio, cover a lot of ground. We get a first listen of vox and they’re gruff. Like, really gruff. Like, salty sea captain gruff. Lemmy gruff. And that’s ok, because the record isn’t hinged on ‘em. At this point, like most records I like, it’s clear what we’re in for: trudging, trippy rockers more concentrated on atmosphere and power than hooks. It’s a wide sounding record, with bulky guitars, gooey bass, and massive drums, none of which are in a hurry to go anywhere.
Phase Return lets the riff do the talking. Lots of wah pedalled leads and dramatic drum breaks. Production gets a thumbs up as everything sounds hefty and loose. Finger noise and feedback are left and it adds to the overall experience. It’s like the guys are in your living room, blasting their riffs and eating your pizza.
Drowing Daydream features a Sabbath-esque break where the tempos are bumped up. This is a pretty refreshing respite as, until this point, it’s been more or less one pace. Cadence drums end the tune with some leads and more wah bass. This is a guitar heavy record for sure, but the bass is present and all over. Just like Kaznik. From Bitchwax. Yeah!
Nullarbor shows some quick-change action with acoustics, sitars, and more beat drums. The seventh of nine tracks, this reminds me of when Nebula used to do this shit on their records, you know, before they went to shit. The middle-eastern fun dissolves into some meandering trippy goodness and a slow burning riff. These tunes have a great, jam-vibe to them. Very organic and flowing, like the band just hit record in the practice space. Song times are not a concern here. However long it takes.
Thunderbird Devine is a vocal heavy tail of trash love and Stoneburner closes out the record as you’d expect. All kinds of hallucinatory effects that reminds me of the criminally underrated Harrisburg, PA freak-out band, 1000 Earth Years. A true closer of heroic proportions and a fun one to kick back, close your eyes, and be serviced. If you can pull off that sort of thing with the lady. Or just do it yourself, I don’t judge.
Wizard Eye’s new record is stoner rock. It’s thundering and trippy, with sunken vocals and robust riffs. Not terribly dynamic, the entire affair could’ve been one long song. If the scene was a livestock contest, with Monster Magnet and TAB being the fat, blue ribbon sows, the Wizard Eye pig would be a respected “Honorable Mention.” Word up.
Scribed by: Drew Fulton