Review: Acid Magus ‘Wyrd Syster’

There is a Zulu saying that translated into the King’s English posits that ‘bones must be thrown in three different places before the message is to be accepted’. Making mad music from Pretoria, South Africa comes Acid Magus with their new release Wyrd Syster, set to debut this on July 30th in the year of Our Lord 2021. A self-proclaimed experimental rock band, these lads throw the bones in about three different places: there is a lean in to the American desert rock scene, a pronounced affection for the 90s ‘alternative’ rock of Jane’s Addiction and a healthy dose of spaced-out, atmospheric guitar riffing à la The Edge of U2.

Acid Magus ‘Wyrd Syster’

Signature tune Wyrd Syster bangs off the starting gun with a healthy krak of tik-tok acid rock. Rituals is next up maltreated by the bands’ license to drone pointlessly but it sounds good, it’s passible. The snotty and sneering delayed vocals of Conscientious Pugilist puts the groove tractor in low gear, depending more on rhythm section leverage than aboriginal riffs, but I do wish the ‘heavy’ knob was rotated a bit more counter-clockwise – the music is like traversing the Apies River with rocks tied to your ankles … it doesn’t allow you to take a full gulp of air while bobbing your wee head along to the beat. Virgo bops ping-pong acoustic guitar riffing doing the soundboard string hop for a different flavor of vanilla.

Acid Magus recently added vocalist Christiaan Van Renen, who drops the Julian Casablancas filtered vocals bomb with Perry Farrell spaced out vapor trail delays, and on She Is The Night he instinctively wails with melody flanked by a solid arrangement and close cover fire by the band. On Evil the lads tone it down here just enough to let a more measured vibe bubble up into the digital bit stream.

cracking with both light and darkness, melody and cacophony and worthy of multiple spins…

Red Dawn is of interest with a propulsive groove bound for the dead head dance floor, if not for the sledgehammer grunting guitar riffs. Kudos to bass guitar player Jarryd Wood; he maintains a driving musical pace on Wyrd Syster -he jams the jimmy jam, man.

Wyrd Syster is a listenable release, cracking with both light and darkness, melody and cacophony and worthy of multiple spins on the platter, debut effort and all. These guys remind me a wee bit of King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, although without the ‘psychedelic’ parts. Ima give it to ya straight – Acid Magus sets up a few expectations with their self-described tag of experimental music that they don’t deliver on. From first to last listen they are a 21st century conventional hard rock band with a deconstructed post-metal tint. I fancy Acid Magus would bring it playing live where their performance energy sparks a few zols and they can let it all hang out. And so it is my Brothers and Sisters.

Label: Mongrel Records
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Twitter | Instagram

Scribed by: Dani Bandolier