If you give yourself a genre tag, you best make damn sure you’re unique or you live up to your title. If a band calls themselves Pathological Surgical Cavernous Death Thrash Punk then I’ll take it as a joke and assume that they’re ragging on the increasing overwhelming genre tag society. Yet if it’s pretty simple like Pirate Metal (looking at you Alestorm), then I’ll assume that they’re going to be pretty unique and true to their word, which Alestorm are, although perhaps not quite so much now.
So with this in mind we come to speak of Rebel Wizard a one man band from Melbourne Australia whose sole member goes by the name of NKSV. The band (or artist) brings together both Heavy and Black Metal to create something which one could only guess to be pretty ‘kvlt’ sounding. However, they (or he) go one step further calling themselves Negative Wizard Metal (what does that even mean). Anyway, I’ll not get on my high horse just yet. The project has garnered some success with prior albums such as Triumph Of Gloom and Voluptuous Worship Of Rapture And Response. Yet now is a new age, in 2020 the band give us Magickal Mystical Indifference through Prosthetic Records, but how does it play out?
Heavy Negative Wizard Metal In-Fucking-Excelsis begins the album, a statement with a ‘kvlter than thou’ ethos and Punk mentality. The opening riffs seem kind of Venom inspired, there is a certain NWOBHM vibe, but a murky Blackened one. The song is also instrumental and I really don’t see why. It’s OTT Metal but kind of a touch try hard in sound and delivery. Raiseth Up All Those That Be Bowed Down comes next with a similar styling and the addition of vocals. The vocals are overly distorted and sit terribly in the mix, normally I love this kind of sound but again it’s very try hard. Giving us even worse vocals is White Light of Divine Awe Smelling of Sweat and Sex which basically sounds exactly the same as everything before and after it, very atonal. There are at least some pretty decent riffs and drum patterns in Dance Of The Duchess In The Pale Pink Light but again they fall a bit short and feel a bit messy, another shrug really.
As we get into the second half of the album with Not Rain But The Wizards Tears I have truly sunken into boredom, as the same ideas are trudged out again and again. Urination Of Vapidity On Consciousness at least gives the album a bit of a kick and some speed, this is the sort of sound that the band should be all about. Love Wisdom Everything Nothing gives us another side of Rebel Wizard, showing some atmospheric and Ambient traits, I like it but still when combined with everything else it makes little sense. Finally (thankfully) we come to the title track, the longest song on the album (sadly). There are some nice catchy, Black Metal infused riffs in this song that I can get interested by but for the most part it’s nothing special.
So this is the example of a band who has a vision and a good one at that, but can’t seem to project it. A lot of the elements are very plastic, namely the vocals. I can really hear what is trying to be done but it sounds purposeful. If you want bad crusty vocals just record them in the worst way possible. Yet make sure the rest of the instrumentation is of a similar level, it’s hard to mix soaring guitar solos with this kind of Blackened filth. Personally, I think that Rebel Wizard need to really think about the term Negative Wizard Metal, because if this is it then I’m out.
(4/10 George Caley)