ELECTRIC WIZARD Dopethrone (Rise Above)
Pressed on virulent green vinyl, “Dopethrone” (Terrorizer magazine’s album of the 2000s) demonstrates a witty and self-deprecating self-awareness. It’s spiked with dialogue from an edition of American current affairs programme “20/20” discussing how to recognise signs of Satanism in your heavy metal-loving offspring. The opening track neatly forestalls any criticism of the band wearing their influences on their sleeves, being called “Vinum Sabbathi”, and the second, “Funeralopolis”, opens with the sound of hacking coughing, a la “Sweet Leaf”.
The only vaguely doomy/stoner music I’m familiar with is Kyuss and early Black Sabbath so, perhaps unsurprisingly, to me “Dopethrone” sounds quite a bit like Kyuss and early Black Sabbath. In my book, though, sounding like Kyuss and early Black Sabbath is a very good thing, making “Dopethrone” a very good album. It’s not even as extreme as I feared, having mentally prepared myself for something even slower and more distorted than this. It still sounds like music that’s crawling through primeval ooze, though; the pace is funereal, the guitars fuzzed up to 11 and the vocals mixed way back and fogbound like those in Sabbath’s “Planet Caravan”. Helpfully, the lyrics are reproduced in the gatefold, although to be fair the message of bright, snappy numbers like “We Hate You” transcends language. There’s no lack of ambition, either, for all the rhythmic reticence. “Weird Tales”, for example, is a three-part suite – progressive sludge, perhaps – whose droning conclusion suggests a Satanic Spiritualized, although the album’s most surprising moment, “The Hills Have Eyes”, is a forty second instrumental sliver of a jam session in which the layers of distortion that surround the rest of the album are stripped away to reveal a tantalising glimpse of intoxicating, sinewy funk.
I couldn’t listen to “Dopethrone” all the time; in fact, it’s a struggle to listen to it all in one go. Nevertheless, it deserves a doff of the cap for its sheer uncompromising bloody-mindedness, and heartily recommended to those with sufficient stamina to meet its warped demands. And to think that all of this awesome venomous noise came straight outta Dorset boggles my mind.