Album Review: Rebel Wizard – “Voluptuous Worship of Rapture and Response”

Voluptuous isn’t a word one associates with black metal, or rather this hybrid of ’80s classicism and Scandinavian shriek, but if Rebel Wizard’s guitar orgy were measured at the bust, waist and hips, you’d have Jessica Rabbit.

Despite half-a-dozen ripped and ripping EPs in addition to sophomore platter Voluptuous Worship of Rapture and Response, sole necromancer Bob Nekrasov quadrupled that output in digital hardcore over the last decade under the banner of his surname. First Wizard full-length Triumph of Gloom bridges the two paradigms with a Maiden melodiousness that devolves into segments of sheer freakout like a grindcore Butthole Surfers.

Nekrasov proves unfailing at g-spot location, ungodly fast and unbelievably committed to the narrative fulfillment of any given six-string spotlight. In the parlance of The Thing, every solo is its own organism and every single one a perfect imitation. Only, they’re not imitation, even when their steely perfection evokes the Cyberdyne System—ShredBot!

“The Prophecy Came and It was Soaked in Common Fools Foreboding” builds empires like DeGarmo and Rockenfield, then “The Poor and Ridiculous Alchemy of Christ and Lucifer and Us All” rides the lightning of first wave thrash. Nekrasov buffs his vocals to a white noise mid-level, which cedes “Drunk on the Wisdom of Unicorn Semen” to multiple guitar-gasms. Two bullet train minutes of “Majestic Mystical Burdens” revisits Mustaine and Friedman, circa 1990, while the title track whiffs “Jesus Built My Hotrod.”

Everything blurs together in sheer, thrilling, retro dopamine, some tracks relying on little else than a longass title (“Mother Nature, Oh My Sweet Mistress, Showed Me the Other Worlds and It Was Just Fallacy”), but rapture, thy name is Bob Nekrasov.