Dirt Wizard. Dirt. Wizard.
I have no idea what that even means as a name, but it sounds pretty cool to my adolescent mind – like a spell conjuring hobo who fights crime…
Sorry, the multitude of cold and flu medication has truly kicked in and everything seems pretty surreal right now. What is tangibly real is that the River City, Illinois four piece Dirt Wizard are determined to channel the heavy blues of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath and infuse them with a fuzzed out stoner rock vibe that is full of low end groove and thunderous rhythm.
If you like your rock hard and infectious, steeped in the classics and yet with an undeniably modern sensibility then ‘No Son Of Mine‘ is more than worth a listen.
For a band that has not been together than long, Dirt Wizard have great chemistry, this is particularly evidenced in the dual vocal interplay between Zak Bugos and Sam Theis, whose multi-layered harmonies compliment each other and add an extra layer of depth to the music which sets them apart from just another run of the mill stoner rock band.
As for the music itself, the five tracks on ‘No Son Of Mine‘ don’t see the band trying to reinvent the wheel, instead they focus on the core value of rocking out and having a good time.
On ‘Amis Tabu’ the dynamics are straight out of the pop rock play book, big driving riffs, rumbling bass courtesy of John Slama and pounding drums from Cody Maddock. The sound might have the sort of fuzz sound the likes of Truckfighters have made their own, but they attack it with an almost punk rock sensibility that has more in common with a ‘Songs For The Deaf‘ era Queens Of The Stone Age, all heads down driving rock and big melodic, singable choruses, accentuated by a deft solo.
Elsewhere they show the ability to get into a seriously catchy groove, as on ‘Ged Of Earthsea’, where they lock into some dance floor threatening chugging that makes you subconsciously shake your head, or ass, or frankly anything else you want to shake at it (providing this is all done within the bounds of public decency and consent I should add). This track reminded me of Shaman faves Grifter, in the celebration of low down, dirty blues rock that barges its way in, cracks open a beer, puts its feet up and demands you put some great tunes on the stereo.
Just when you think you have got them pegged then ‘Devil’s Velvet’ adds a spacey, expansive element to their arsenal which shows that they have a great deal of potential to develop if they want to explore more than just the party vibe and go all Monster Magnet trippy on us.
If you take the view that everything under the sun has been done, then at this point you could probably pull the rug from under the whole Stoner Rock movement and shut up shop now. If however you want the soundtrack to a good session on the beer that has some interesting ideas to go with the tried and tested, then Dirt Wizard could well be the band for you.
Scribed by: Mark Hunt-Bryden