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Electric Wizard & Satan’s Satyrs @Union Transfer, Philadelphia (USA) – 31st March 2015

North American doomheads have been dying to see the kings of British stoner doom metal, and here they are!

Electric Wizard have not toured America since 2002. 13 unlucky years. Though they did play Maryland Deathfest in 2012; that was a one-off show. It was announced last December they were doing a North American tour in Spring 2015. The Dorset-native band decided to kick off their new tour in Philadelphia at the Union Transfer – a sizable indoor venue. Tickets to the show sold out a week after being on sale. They brought along Satan’s Satyrs as their opener, which was a logical choice. Satyrs’ bassist/singer Clayton Burgess was hired as Wizard’s thick string plucker, effectively having him play two sets a night.

Electric Wizard NA tour 2015I was really looking forward to seeing Satan’s Satyrs, possibly more so than Electric Wizard. Their sophomore album, Die Screaming, is my favorite LP of last year. The record is basically surf rock in hell. They make the musical equivalent of a really schlocky horror/exploitation film from the 60s/70s and I love every note of it. The Virginian band also has a punk influence, particularly on their first record, making them more energetic than their Wizard overlords.

They started their set with the first two cuts from Die Screaming: “Thumper’s Theme” and “Instruments of Hellfire”. They essentially work as one song, and really packed a punch. I noticed a flaw in the sound when the second song played: the microphone level was too low. This happens way too often at smaller venues. I really appreciate Clayton’s voice too. He changed his style for the better on Die Screaming, sounding like a higher pitched Zeeb Parkes from Witchfinder General. They continued their set by alternating tracks from both records. They even debuted a new song from their third album, to be released. It was exciting to hear some new material, though it was too early to judge the quality of it.

One of the highlights of their set was “Show Me Your Skull”, one of my favorite cuts of theirs. It has a really fun riff, and really shows off their stoned-age vibe. They closed their set with “Sadist 69” and Clayton imitated the sampled intro: “Eh Satan…Eh Lucifer, we’re here baby!” The group seemed to be having a ball playing, but the crowd was weak. I understand that most of them were there for the Wizard, but there was a serious lack of energy. How could you not bang your head to their sick jams? Their set was 45 minutes long, which was too short considering they started at 8pm with only two bands playing.

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After a bit, an atmospheric droning intro played, preparing the crowd for Electric Wizard. I did see them at the Maryland Deathfest three years ago, though I was not as familiar with them at the time, and I was very worn out after going crazy for Saint Vitus. I even left early. You could see this as me making up for that. I really dig the Wizard. They pioneered the stoner doom sound in the 90s, along with Sleep. The British band took the Sabbath formula and made it heavier, darker and thicker. Their drugged-out riffs complement their occult and stoner lyrical themes.

They began their set with “Witchcult Today”, which had the audience going nuts. “Black Mass” continued the crowd enthusiasm, and is a great example of their choruses, which make great anthems. The show in itself was a black mass. With “Dopethrone”, a pit started, appropriately enough. The moshing had its moments of intensity, but never got too crazy, which is just right for a doom show.

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The vocals were better this time around, and Jus Oborn performed his singing duties with ease. The band played “Return Trip”, which is my favorite Wizard track. Its relaxed yet heavy slab of groove was perfect for a live setting. They followed with a new cut, “Incense for the Damned”. It had a similar theme to “Return Trip” and featured a rad chorus: “We wanna, get high before we die”. The crowd took this literally, as weed and hookah could be smelled intermittently within the indoor venue.

They finished their set with “The Chosen Few” and “Funeralopolis”, both being great numbers. After they left the stage, the guitar tone was still droning, making it seem like there was going to be an encore. But alas, there was not. They only played for an hour and a half. There could have easily been another song or two.

Seeing these two bands was a really great time. The Wizard and the Satyrs are a great pair. They sound somewhat similar but are really different, giving the crowd some nice variety. I just wish both bands played longer, as the whole show ended at 10:30. I heard some people saying the sound at the venue was messed up. I could definitely tell there were a few issues, but they did not detract from the experience. They received a warm welcome from Philly, and I hope that energy continues as they travel across America and Canada. North American doomheads have been dying to see the kings of British stoner doom metal, and here they are!

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Satan’s Satyrs Setlist:
1. Thumper’s Theme
2. Instruments of Hellfire
3. Alucard
4. Show Me Your Skull
5. New Song (Premiere)
6. Bellydancer’s Delight
7. Lucifer Lives!
8. Sadist 69

Electric Wizard Setlist:
1. Witchcult Today
2. Black Mass
3. Satanic Rites of Drugula
4. Dopethrone
5. Return Trip
6. Incense for the Damned
7. Time to Die
8. The Chosen Few
9. Funeralopolis

Electric Wizard are:
Jus Oborn – Guitar/Vocals
Liz Buckingham – Guitar
Clayton Burgess – Bass
Simon Poole – Drums

More Electric Wizard:
Website
Facebook

Satan’s Satyrs are:
Clayton Burgess – Bass/Vocals
Jarrett Nettnin – Guitar
Stephen Fairfield – Drums

More Satan’s Satyrs:
Website
Facebook
Bandcamp

Spencer
About Spencer (127 Articles)
Spencer Maxwell is a filmmaker and devoted metalhead. His favorite genres are heavy and doom metal, with his top bands being Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Candlemass, Pentagram, and Saint Vitus.

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