Theirs is the world of B-movie horror schlock, medieval myth and gloomy paranoia. Suffused in a thick haze of marijuana and, one imagines, the dark, smoldering slag heaps of their dystopian vision, they laud their twin-spirations with lyrics such as, "Rise black amps tear the sky/Riff hewn altar wreathed in smoke and weed," on the 11-minute epic "I, Witchfinder," off 2000's Dopethrone. They even dedicate a song to the exploits of Conan the Barbarian, while the cover features the devil taking a particularly large bong hit, as other demons look on enviously.
With Dopethrone, the band took its first leap across the pond, making serious inroads in a place where others have failed. Their latest, Let Us Prey, maintains their momentum, while showing the band's willingness to branch out and experiment on what might be its most accessible album to date. Singer Jus Osborne still growls like a cat passing a kidney stone, but there are a few musical curveballs in with the eight-minute power-chord elegies. "We Are the Undead" picks up the pace with a thrash-metal tempo that'd fit right in on a Rollins Band album, while the supple "Night of the Shape" escapes without any grime at all, riding a persistent prog-rock beat over an ominous, building piano melody.
Like peers Sleep or a despondent, sleep-deprived Melvins, Electric Wizard unites the expansive atmospheric playing of Hawkwind, the rough-hewn garage of Blue Cheer and the bruising ballast of Sabbath into a hypnotic, sub-harmonic drone thick enough to smother you. Live, it's enough to make you consider a flak jacket, lest the chest-rattling bass crack a rib.