Wizard Smoke, The Speed of Smoke

Been looking forward to this one for awhile. I love new music Tuesday.

The Speed of Smoke is psychedelic sludge rock– a new musical permutation (emphasis on mutation): there’s definitely sludge here, and it’s assuredly psychedelic, yet sounds like rock, rather than metal. There’s as much hip-shaking as head banging.

I dig it. It’s NWOBHM covering Blue Cheer.

Atlanta’s Wizard Smoke, and their previous work, Live Rock in Hell, were reviewed (on Hallowe’en, no less) here, and included on my top 20 of last year here.

Singer James Halcrow couldn’t have more distinct vocals– something like Sabbat’s Martin Walkyier, yet his own as well: a raspy as hell, how-can-he-not-shred-his-vocal-chords type of voice. You won’t forget it. The lyrics seem to tell a tale that might make a lot more sense stoned.

Starting with opening track “Dead Wood” and continuing throughout the whole album, there’s almost a swing vibe, a rockin’-yet-laid back vibe, like Jimmy Buffet if he were sold into slavery from a young age and abused meth instead of alcohol.

Track 3, “Weakling” drops in a cool talk-box lyric that works, that sounds like a Hammond B-3 organ is talking to you…yeah: this would sound even better stoned. “Panama II” swirls and rotates over the same chord, up and down, back and forth, in a vaguely Middle Eastern vibe… the snake charmer riff….

Overall, it’s a cool, very slight evolution of the sound on Live Rock in Hell. A bit more complex, more adventurous, while maintaining the same identity.

On their website you can download the whole album in high bit-rate mp3, along with a cool digital booklet in .pdf format.

Download it all free here.

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