One way to drum up demand by metal fans is to not tour for a dozen years. Outside a one-off headlining spot at Maryland Deathfest nearly three years ago, Dorset’s finest doom masters Electric Wizard haven’t performed in the US since 2002 when they played in front of a couple of dozen fans in a tiny pub in the Alewife area called the Hideaway, a far cry from the instantly sold-out room of Royale. Ostensibly playing in support of their latest record, Time To Die, Jus Oborn and company decided to spread the set list wealth by dipping into the riches of their back catalog as well.
Manufactured fog encircled the stage before backdrop images of vintage Hammer Horror-esque film footage as the denim-clad Oborn and his wife, Liz Buckingham, slung their guitars over their shoulder and started to bludgeon the crowd with their self-styled take on the Sabbath songbook by way of doom metal. When heavy hitters like “The Chosen Few” or “Black Mass” started filling the room, the effect was like having a few dozen leaden aprons that they put on you at the dentist office when you are getting x-rayed carefully, slowly draped over you until your very survival is in doubt. Oborn’s love of horror movies is well known to fans, and images of a litany of bare-breasted victims waiting to meet their satanic end played as the band threw sludgy, slow tempo riffs in an endless stream at the crowd.
The later records are fine but essentially are re-treading the hallowed ground carved out from the two masterpieces, Dopethrone and Come My Fanatics. “Dopethrone” into “Return Trip” instantly hit the target, the latter song being the heaviest song ever with the super-distorted bass yielding to the onslaught of Oborn’s guitar, outfitted with heavy gauge strings for that extra oomph. For a band with a single called “Legalise Drugs and Murder,” this wasn’t going to be a light-hearted affair to be sure, and the mood turned violent with the set closer of “Funeralopolis” as drug-addled fans stumbled in a standing torpor while a rather intense fist fight up front had blood spilled on the stage.
Oborn found such antics perfectly suitable, and even wiped some of the blood onto his face as the show came to an end. A Good Friday indeed.
Primarily based in Boston, Massachusetts, Tim Bugbee is no stranger to traveling throughout the country or overseas to capture the best live music photos.