In some people’s minds the history of the 1970s goes a little bit like this: a grey decade of bad fashion and even worse food. Three day weeks and striking miners; thank goodness for punk and Year Zero. Then there’s the rest of us who know a lot better – the 70s were packed full of heavy metal bands with the love of the riff, the art of the song and the odd pint of patchouli oil. It’s this latter version of history that Minnesota’s Wicked Inquisition have tapped into. And how.
This highly enjoyable album contains more cap-doffing to the 70s than a milliner’s emporium and the reverence for times past is so genuine and warm hearted that you can’t help but feel a large amount of affection for the band and their record. I’m writing this review with the record playing loudly in the background and I can see from the reflection in the laptop screen that I have a grin that is a mile wide; it’s THAT kind of fun.
This is doom metal, but doom metal put through a focussed, song-writing lens. The band appear to have as much in common with Blue Oyster Cult as they do with Sabbath and their ilk which is no bad thing. On ‘Black Magick Nacht’, the album’s opening salvo, we are treated to something akin to a riff masterclass that is genuine and genuinely thrilling. The tempo drops for the Sabbath dripping ‘Crimson Odyssey’ whilst the upbeat riffing of ‘Sun Flight’ is not unlike early period Iron Maiden mixed with Trouble.
‘M.A.D.’ is the most obviously “doomy” of any of the tracks here, a snaking riff and metronomic pace adding to the mood and ambience with aplomb. Meanwhile, ‘In Shackles’ is what would happen if Sabbath had downed a bottle of groove juice before recording Sabotage (Vertigo) it’s mighty and gripping.
The opening riff on ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ is straight off AC/DC’s Highway to Hell (Atlantic) masterpiece before jogging off for more 1970s riff shoplifting like some indiscriminate hoodlum. If you think I’m being critical, you couldn’t be further from the truth; the riffing here is joyous and inspired and the love of the music that this band have is as true and deep as the quality of their playing.
Wicked Inquisition (Tridroid) imbues a love of doom metal with an attention to detail and delivery that is admirable and enviable. It is not going to win any prizes for originality but for well-crafted heavy metal, it will do me, and you, very nicely indeed.