Album Review: Subterranean Exile by The Wizar’d

Australia’s The Wizar’d have been churning out traditional doom metal since 2004, amassing a solid catalog of four full-length albums and several EPs.  Their most recent long player, Subterranean Exile (released April 24th via Cruz Del Sur) is the work of a band comfortable in its own skin.  Unlike the death metal-tinged war beat of label mates Stygian Crown, this four-piece kicked out a platter of old-school doom quite at home next to bands like Witchfinder General.

The most pronounced aspect of The Wizar’d’s songwriting is, undoubtedly, Ol’ Rusty’s vocal style – an eccentric, prophet-in-in the forest delivery.  His singing will most likely make or break the record as a whole for most listeners.  Guitarist and co-vocalist Master of the Night supports the choruses with more traditional backing vocals and his riffing is solid and straightforward.  The rhythm section, sporting the Tolkien-inspired stage names of Blackie the Crimson Heretic of a Thousand Eyes [bass] and Maniac Frodsham [drums] take a back seat and push the songs along with solid, supportive parts.

From front-to-back, Subterranean Exile, is a fairly myopic affair not drifting much to either side of the line drawn by the first track, also titled “Subterranean Exile.”  Pounding drums mixed with flowing guitar harmonies morph into a rocking, 70s inspired riff throwdown.  “Master Of The Night” transitions into the hook-laden “Long Live The Dead” and those two songs are a highlight of this seven-song release.  The closing number, “Dark Fortress,” is seven minutes of atmospheric doom and ends the platter on a high note.

As a whole, Subterranean Exile is deeply rooted in classic doom influence and is an endearing trip for fans of the genre.

Order the album in digital, CD, and vinyl formats here.

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