Review Summary: If ever oh ever a wiz there was...
Last month I read an interview featuring Australian based musician, Rebel Wizard. In it, Nekrasov, the man behind Rebel Wizard, waxed poetic about the horrors of modern life, including religion, TV, corporations, etc.--the usual masked black metal musician stuff. He discussed positivism and negativity within metal pretty heavily, saying that positive and negative "are not separate" but interact and live in the same space or something black metal like that. By definition this statement perplexes, but upon listening to Voluptuous Worship of Rapture and Response
, the incongruity has begun to make sense.
After all, Rebel Wizard revels in negativity, using it to yield positive results. Metal as a whole has always been chained to such negative feelings as a way to lash out at societal norms and mores. As Nekrasov states, it's a way of "letting everything go," which feels a little trite when referencing black metal, a genre which has traditionally exploited emotional baggage for, well, their entire aesthetic. But when the NWOBHM riffs start soaring, it feels freeing
. Sure, "The Prophecy Came and It Was Soaked With the Common Fools Forboding" is an absolute nasty cut of black metal, but "Drunk on the Wizdom of Unicorn Semen" is a playful master class in upbeat 80s thrash. It's the constantly bizarre juxtaposition of hatefulness and joy that Rebel Wizard toys with that makes Voluptuous Worship of Rapture and Response
such a triumph.
The way Nekrasov is able to spin a black metal tune into equal parts frigid, fierce, and above all else, fun, is revelatory. To be more reductive, Rebel Wizard plays a 'black-n-roll' style of black metal with mild hints of NWOBHM and thrash, like if Kvelertak spread itself across Darkthrone's early and late eras. The blackened side is very
blackened, with a grating production and painfully shrill vocals, all laid bare across an incredibly fast, breakneck pace. The more rocking side is a rollicking treat, with foot-tapping cadences and, again, a sincere feeling of positivism when the riffs reach their highest of highs.
The dichotomy present on Rebel Wizard's latest album is a constant source of excitement, eliciting a happiness born from hateful sounds. It's only a bit odd, because the bones of Voluptuous Worship of Rapture and Response
feel very familiar, but the effortlessness of its delivery, however, puts Rebel Wizard in a class of its own.