Wizard Eye - Wizard Eye - (8/10)
Published on January 30, 2016
In order to break on through to the other side, many people open the doors to perception by way of psychedelic ingestion; a pseudo-spiritual quest ensues to find oneself in the cosmic desert of the mind and onto the plateau of nirvana. For those in southern Australia, it is through the Nullarbor Plain that the journey is to be taken, a place so inhospitable that European settlers often likened it to the place in our nightmares. If the journey is more important than reaching the destination, then it is through this that the mighty spirit of Wizard Eye’s eponymous second album is called forth.
It has been some five years since Wizard Eye’s debut, the Hawkwind-meets-doom orgy that was Orbital Rites, took flight into the collective conscience, but you may have never heard of this trio from Philadelphia. Their Facebook bio will tell you they play “loudly electrified psychedelic riff rock,” and this is essentially all you need to know. Led by the thunderous roar of frontman Eric Caplan and driven by incredibly monumental drum-work, Wizard Eye set themselves apart from your usual (weed) flavour-of-the-month stoner group: not as stoner as, say, Conan, and not as psychedelic as, say, Earthless. With their sophomore effort, the band have found a healthy middle between the two.
Like all great stoner records, it is the journey across the backbone of solid riffs and ritualistic rhythms that define Wizard Eye as oppose to its nine individual sonic landmarks. From the ignition of the psychedelic engine of ‘Eye of the Deep’ taking us on an instrumental passage through space straight to the desert chanting of ‘Stoneburner’ soaring over a backdrop of Acid Mothers Temple vibes; the album is a fifty-three-minute voyage that ebbs and flows like a tumultuous river carving life into that aforementioned Australian terrain. In fact ‘Nullarbor’ is a perfect example of how ominous yet trippy a passage can get, pulsating with screeching guitars whilst building layer upon layer of full on psych-noise that would leave their ‘60s forefathers proud – it is as if the group penned this after such an expedition across the limestone bedrock. Then there are the heavier tracks carried by the vocal prowess of their shaman: ‘Phase Return’ is a planetary mass of a piece and ‘Drowning Daydream’ is exactly what it says it is, one can get lost in its hypnotic dirge!
That last sentiment is true for the entire album: it is very easy to lose yourself through the grooves laid out here. It is certainly not one for those with a low attention span. But for the more exploratory this is an album for you, a mind-opening cruise that will carry the listener to zones uncharted and beyond. At least it is safer than tracking through the Nullarbor…