Friday 16 June 2023

Wizard Tattoo - Fables Of The Damned (Album Review)

Release Date: June 23rd 2023. Record Label: Self Released. Formats: CD/DD

Fables Of The Damned: Tracklisting

1.Wizard Van 

2.The Black Mountain Pass 

3.The Vengeful Thulsa Dan

4.Any Which Way But Tuned 

5.The Ghost of Doctor Beast

6.God Damn This Wizard Tattoo



Fables Of The Damned is the debut album from Doom/Stoner Rockers Wizard Tattoo who impressed me greatly with their self-titled debut EP back in August 2022. Formed by Bram The Bard, Wizard Tattoo takes to even greater creative heights here and defies genre conventions along the way. Wizard Tattoo blends Doom/Stoner Metal with elements of Psych, Grunge, Sludge, Alternative Metal and even Industrial textures even make an appearance.

The lyrics and themes of the album are inspired by Bram’s love of Comic Books, Horror Movies and Fantasy Novels. Come on, look at the wicked album cover. Don’t be expecting some Occult Doom album as this album is most definitely not that. 

Opening song Wizard Van is a trippy and surreal take on the modern Stoner Rock/Metal sound with hazy vocals and distorted FUZZ grooves with a mean grunge score holding everything together. There is a solid Post-Industrial feel which can be heard on the later stages with the song becoming more Doomier towards the end of the song with a lush sounding Post-Doom and Post-Stoner instrumental hypnotic sound which was quite unexpected. 

Second song The Black Mountain Pass goes into a doomier Americana style sound which feels inspired by Across Tundras. Though, Wizard Tattoo changes their creative narrative when the music turns into a NOLA inspired melody. The vocals are a mixture of grizzled vocals, clean vocals and with a storyteller persona starting to appear. There is a kick-ass THIN LIZZY inspired grooves section that remains my favourite part of the song. Though, Wizard Tattoo plays heavy DOOMED OUT jams within this song that feels like it’s came from a different song and the album becomes stronger because of this.

Third song The Vengeful Thulsa Dan dives into the action with a heavy and crushing FUZZ based groove which feels inspired by bands such as Electric Wizard and COUGH with a respect for 1990’s Grunge and Stoner Metal. The vocals switch from clean vocals to a harsher style with the music being mostly Psychedelic Doom with a slight REVERB being used wisely for higher levels of volumes to appear. The second half of the song goes wonderfully left-field with Wizard Tattoo opting for a Psychedelic Spaced Out Sound that’s OTT but quite dramatic especially when the more Progressive themes appear.

Fourth song Any Which Way But Tuned is a Semi-Acoustic Doom Ballad which is packed full of subtle Americana melodies and lyrics inspired by the Great Old West. Perhaps the strangest track on the whole album but remains an engaging, haunting and beautifully played song. The vocals have an Outlaw/Country feeling but the song still DOOM’s in it’s own way.

Fifth Song The Ghost Of Doctor Beast opts for a Sludge Metal sound with heavy pounding drums and slowly played guitars offering a more dominant DISTORTED movement. Another change of style from Wizard Tattoo with the storytelling persona setting up the scene inspired by 1950’s Sci-Fi movies. The music moves up a gear when the multi-layered and aggressive guitars take a more active role. With an UFOMAMMUT inspired Spaced Out Stoner feel allowing the song to become one of heaviest tracks on the album

The next two tracks God Damn This Wizard Tattoo and Abendrote are my favourite parts of the album with the band becoming more rebellious and self aware with their music especially on God Damn This Wizard Tattoo. Elements of Classic Rock, Grunge, Fuzz and Heavy Metal fuse to pay homage to bands such as ZZ Top, Black Sabbath, CLUTCH and Blue Oyster Cult with some of the catchiest and trippiest sounds on the entire album.

Abendrote allows Wizard Tattoo to bring everything you’ve heard on the album into one final song that starts mostly as a semi-acoustic take on Doom Rock but changes into a marvellous style of Heavy Doom and Stoner Metal with a sublime “Post-Rock” sound appearing from the halfway mark. 

Wizard Tattoo are a breath of fresh air and a welcome addition to the Doom/Stoner Metal Underground Scene and their debut album is one of the most wonderfully creative records you’ll experience this year. Packed full of ingenious ideas, sounds and grooves. This is first rate entertainment from start to finish. 

Add this album to your collection now. Another Album Of The Year Contender has just arrived.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Wizard Tattoo for the promo.

Fables Of The Damned will be available to buy on CD/DD from Friday June 23rd 2023.


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