Review Summary: Consolidating their position as one of the heaviest and coolest stoner acts.
It's no wonder Wo Fat have found a new level of success with The Black Code
less than a couple of years ago. The heavy jams, like always, put the grooves in front and at a shorter length (an important factor that also raised the accessibility), along came the replay value even from those who weren't previously accustomed to their music. While the US was hesitant at first, Europe jumped all over their material. Convinced by their prowess, it seems that the Americans are finally finding their way through the band's discography too. In the wake of this hype these tres hombres quickly came up with yet another full length, The Conjuring
Riding high on the waves of its predecessor, the record doesn't really aspire to cover new grounds rather than consolidate their position as one of the heaviest stoner acts today. The riffs are more monolithic and crunchier while the drums are pounding harder than ever. It is amazing how much can these guys dig into a certain sound sphere without turning stale. To get the idea of the overall sound, the most representative tune is the centerpiece, 'Pale Rider From The Ice' (who makes an appearance on the grim cover too). After a minute of fuzz-drenched guitar licks, this massive monster starts crawling. Bordering on doom, the bludgeoning riffs create a murky atmosphere while much of the emphasis is put on the powerful, 'dry' drumming. Various slides and feedback-laden solos are intertwined, while the latter half is dominated by some cool, pile driving Southern boogie. This is undoubtedly one of the top 5 Wo Fat tunes so far.
Moreover, the title track reeks of that same malefic vibe surrounding the whole album. Starting from the movie samples at the beginning to the straightforward, dirty grooves, the tune sounds like you're swaying with the devil. Kent's raspy vocals provide the dark, prophetic tone the whole adventure shares. Even if the tune clocks in around ten minutes, it is quite airy since the band really lets their riffage sink in without adding unnecessary parts. The shorter tracks, 'Read The Omens' and 'Beggar's Bargain' feature some more of the usual Wo Fat Southern, booty shaking rhythms complete with several solos and the all time favorite cowbell. They make for great listens while also adding some future live staples. Then, much like each of their records, the closer is a lengthy slow burner that acts as an entire journey all by itself. 'Dreamwalker' features prolonged bass/drum jamming, again with various guitar tweaks over them, before launching into a scorching rocker. The mesmerizing middle segment lets you lose yourself in the music before being crushed with some fast, pounding riffs in the end. If anybody wanted a 17-minute summary of the band, here is everything they can offer served on a plate.
Overall, this is just as good as anything Wo Fat have released so far. However, it doesn't break the standards, it only consolidates the strengths best refined on The Black Code
. Looking on the bright side, it shows just how tight the band is and how much care do they put during the creation process. As a result, they have churned the entire album in less than a year and it doesn't disappoint by any means. The only real complaint is the lack of diversity from their usual output, but who can really blame them for giving people what they want, with some added heaviness too. Since The Conjuring
relies on the same formulas, we are waiting for the next move to see where are they heading to. So far, the Texan power trio didn't make one sloppy step and hopefully things will only get even better from here.