Feb 2, 2012

Wizard’s Beard – Four Tired Undertakers ...

When I first heard the 'Pure Filth' release by UK's Wizard's Beard I knew this band was going to be something out of the ordinary, a band to take over the UK sludge-metal throne from other past greats such as Iron Monkey and thankfully they haven't let me down. 'Four Tired Undertakers' is a nasty, toxic dose of afflicting, agonizing, cruel, excruciating doomed sludge that should have ALL fans of the riff drooling with delight. On first spin, this album seems less varied than 'Pure Filth' but that just makes it just that bit more intense and unforgiving.

The doom riff quota in the band has been increased ever so slighty with this album being closer to a kind of early Electric Wizard styled lumbering stoner doom album. There is still the slime and filthy, swampy sludge attack but it is in smaller doses on this CD. There are six tracks stretching the album out to 53 minutes but the way the songs flow one to the next makes it feel like this is one long, torture-filled epic track.

In the past I compared them with Grief, Buzzoven, Eyehategod, Iron Monkey, Negative Reaction et cetera but now I would like to add one more band to that list - Sleep as the sabbathian element is here in larger doses than in the past with Wizard's Beard.

Also in the past, I commented on their infectious grooves. Well I must admit, there are less of those on this album but they make up for that with more bombastic, caustic and sinister doom riffage. The quality of the songwriting has gone up a notch too, while it may not be as catchy, the tunes are more interesting. The album starts its seething, ominous voyage with 'Subirse El Muerto' and 'Abandon the Wolf' which are based around simple riffs but at the same time, it kicks the listener in the nuts with its relentless intensity. The band is not original in any way really but riff for riff, they can match it with anyone. The vocals are delivered in a pure agonized frenzied attack but it is hardly the focal point of this song or any other track on this album, the focus is always on riffing, whether it be doom-laden sabbathisms or chugging more energetic head-snappers.

When you listen to this album, it is easy to forget, there are six tracks on here. The mutant, monster-like riffage of 'Daemon' bleeds right into the very bleak 'Seeth Inside' and it is so deceptive, you may (like me) lose track of where you are in the albums playing order. Being the captivating album that it is, after a while you realize song titles mean nothing and you just soak it up as one long meandering epic piece of sludgy doom metal. 'Accursed' switches gears ever so slighty but it is the closing 11 minutes of 'Harbringer' that really seals the deal. While the album could be accused of just repeating the same formula for the first five tracks, 'Harbringer' is a different dose of doom all together. There is more depth, variation, and twists to this epic tune that easily makes this an instant highlight. Don't kill the CD player though when it ends, there is a hidden track to come if you wait long enough and it is worth waiting for.

For the experienced sludge-metal listener, this easily qualifies for a classic status in terms of sludge-doom. What they lack in originality, they more than make up for in sheer ferocity and intensity. This album is more blackened than what you might be expecting and is certainly not for the timid doom metal fan wanting emotional, melodic doom pieces. Often people cry, there is nobody doing anything original anymore. Hearing Wizard's Beard's "Four Tired Undertakers" and you wonder, does it really matter. This is about as good as it gets for sludge-laced doom metal, this album is monstrous, you have been warned....9.5/10.

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Altsphere Production Website

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