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Wizards Of Firetop Mountain | ’12” Record’

Expectations are a funny thing.

For some reason, maybe it was the name, maybe it was the image they present of mystical forests, but I had it in my head that The Wizards would be doomy occult metal, something with big smoky riffs and heavy drumming.

As it turns out, they are more Queens of the Stone Age than Pentagram. This isn’t a bad thing per se, but it took a moment to get over.

When I got into it I found that The Wizards of Fire Top Mountain play hard rock with swagger and a modern edge to it.

Firstly, the recording sounds good – everything is thick and sounds very tightly packed together.

Some nice flourishes with the guitars keep your attention on the tracks and some tasty use of wah throughout brings a smile each time.

The drummer drives everything along, always playing exactly what the riff needs. Ultimately though there is nothing original here – it has all been done before, although here it is done very well.

The only real negative about the release are the vocals and lyrics.

Lyrics are a bit bland throughout and kind of detract from really getting into most of the songs.

They are catchy, but if the band didn’t have the kind of vibe conjured by the name then it would be easy to imagine them using all the cliches of modern hard rock like the ace of spades card and flaming skull dice, as they really do nothing original.

A case in point would be ‘Leanan Sidhe’. When I seen the name I got excited, thinking it would be in Irish, or at least about something mythological.

Instead the singer croons about just wanting ‘to take you home tonight, baby ‘. Does the world really need another song with these cliches? I don’t think so, and it really lets the EP down – this is in the middle and makes the whole thing just sag like a tennis ball on a bedsheet.

Thankfully it does pick up after, and the second half is better than the first, in my opinion anyway.

‘Burn it All’ is the stand out track on the release – fast, grooving and heavy. The cool down half way through splits the song and lets it breath. Live, this must sound fantastic, and very easy to get into. ‘Fire and Stone’ finishes the disc with a real anthemic chorus – again, this was made to be heard live.

All in all this is a fun record – good drinking or driving music. But that is it – fun. Nothing exciting, or original – and some questionable vocals – but fun.

3/5 – Conor Ó Dochartaigh ::: 11/12/15

  1. Stopped reading after ‘When I seen the name….’. Does no one proofread anymore?

  2. Black Shepherd Says:

    Hmm, I presumed CT was going to review this one so didn’t offer… with a well established Irish band like The Wizards of Firetop Mountain, it’s a bit late in the day to be starting a review with the fact that you knew nothing about them before this.

    Anyway, there is some stone-cold, red hot killer on this album, no doubt about it. There is, however, some undeniable filler too, which is a bit disappointing. The vocal capacity is excellent, a voice that could certainly command a song and a room, but, as said above, the lyrical themes do need a little bit more imagery or depth or tongue in cheek or just something extra, something classic and human. As it stands, they get quite samey.

  3. A balance must always be struck between hearing music with fresh ears and the experience of knowing the context and perhaps even older material.

    But the fact is that unless its Metallica etc, the majority of people will mostly be hearing anything that’s reviewed here for the first time.

    Irish bands are no exception.

  4. Black Shepherd Says:

    Sure, sure… but 1/4 of the text about genre expectations based on a name? Don’t worry, not going to go Zom on this, but if an Irish reviewer doesn’t have his ear to the ground about a well discussed band from the scene, what happens is that we get this 1/4 of the text which tells us more about the reviewer than the album.

  5. I’d have my ear to the ground, but I’ve never actually heard them before (that I can remember anyway).

    After multiple listens to this, as a newcomer myself, I must say I concur with the review.

  6. Got this record the other day, really good listen. Burn it all was the first tune id heard by them that really caught my attention, so picked it up.

    To my ears it has a cool ’79 metal spirit and 60S/70S Detroit Rock thing going on. Like boogie metallers Vardis with MC5/Ted Nugent fantasies or something! Its fun stuff.Production and playings great, guitar solos and licks leap out at you.Side A ends with some power pop but the party gets darker on the second side,Burn it all is a class Heavy Metal tune.

    Really enjoying it and the Black on Black Art/Print is class.

  7. GaryFreakFlag Says:

    Agree with Jasy there. On my 4th straight spin now. 5/5. Good mix of 70’s Metal and Rock and Roll. Not unlike another favourite of mine, Danava.

    Personally I wouldn’t have put the lyrics on the insert but then again I wouldn’t get too hung up on any faults either. I wouldn’t consider a “come on” or “ooh baby” distracting. Well, I suppose it depends on the context really. If they sounded like Poison (which they completely do not) then I’d be the first to lift the stylus and chuck it in the bin. Doesn’t bother me at all on this record.

    To my deaf lugs I’m picking up more of a uptempo/less downer 70’s era Pentagram vibe than anything Homme has done.

  8. Have to say, i think the production on this is brilliant. Unlike the reviewer the only thing i think is wrong with Leanan Sidhe is that it doesnt have the massive Horn section its crying out for! It has the Keys its just missin’ the Horns.

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