From the first thunderous notes of “Apocalyptic Weapons,” it sounds like The Wizards have commandeered the stallions from the Four Horsemen and are galloping into battle to save the day. Outside the first-half balladry of “Distorted Mirrors,” the Spanish heavy metal occult warriors have shed most of Danzig’s demonic blues from their new LP (Rise of the Serpent), and have replaced it with a simmering and shimmering reflection of ’70s rock and proto-metal. The result is a record that packs modern firepower while lovingly surveying the history of heavy music from the feather-bed of Judas Priest’s Sad Wings of Destiny.
Throughout, vocalist Sir Ian Mason’s soaring hooks transform each chorus into a campfire tale of magic and valor (“Circle of Time” and “Age of Man”). Meanwhile, lead guitarist George Dee lights the record on fire with memorable solos that feel like he’s domesticated wild lightning (“Destiny” and “Strings Synchronise”). The record’s exuberance creates an energy both enlightening and restless, where an epic closer like “VOID (Vision of Inner Death)” isn’t resigned to the Uriah Heep brooding of its first half. After some militant snare rhythms from drummer David O. Spare five minutes in, they conjure the rollicking harmonized guitars of Thin Lizzy. Like their namesake, The Wizards always seem to have another new spell a quick incantation away. As a result, Rise of the Serpent feels like an inspired, magical rush from its sword-clanging start to the pensive conclusion.
Listen to Rise of the Serpent‘s magical ascent before its October 26th release from High Roller Records by pressing play below. While you listen, peruse thoughts from lead guitarist/back-up vocalist George Dee about the magical war their waging and what films would be their perfect video accompaniment. But first, become an occult heavy metal warrior and join The Wizards side by side in the fray.
The band has called your music “a weapon against the modern world.” What specific elements of the world are you fighting against in Rise of the Serpent?
George Dee: First of all we are fighting against ourselves, pushing our limits in another attempt to improve our songs and playing. And also we fight against ignorance, shitty music, evil people and almost everything. We don’t really care about what others think; we are happy in the shithole that is our rehearsal room.
There’s a feeling of triumph in many of the new songs, including both the opener (“Apocalyptic Weapons”) and “Circle of Time.” Do you have a positive outlook about the outcome of this magical war, or are you pessimistic about the future?
GD: We are way more positive than people think, specially since Full Moon in Scorpio. Even if sometimes we talk about dark things, there is always a bright side and a hidden meaning to solve. And yes, “Apocalyptic Weapons” plays with this idea: it is the original meaning of “apocalypse,” hope for a better future.
The band references magic often, and has called this record a magical artifact. Are you speaking of literal magic, or as a metaphor against passively accepting the bleak reality around us?
GD: We all agree that magic is the power of the will to transform reality, so in that way we speak of real magic. Language is magical and we use its both sides, musical and linguistic. But we also love metaphors, so there is truth in the two options you mention. People usually forget about this, and we are trying to show that there is a chance to change this terrible situation by being creative and believing that music can change things for the better.
What were some of the first rock albums/magical artifacts that made an impression on you and put you on a path to be an “Occult Heavy Metal Warrior?”
GD: For me it was Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here and Uriah Heep’s Salisbury, but also Led Zeppelin IV and the first Black Sabbath album. We all love the seventies, and these albums only get better with the years. We hope to continue discovering amazing treasures which were recorded during that decade.
The video for “Age of Man” includes some retro Season of the Witch vibes. What movies would be a great backdrop for listening to Rise of the Serpent?
GD: Conan the Barbarian, The Wicker Man, Legend, Excalibur, Rosemary’s Baby… The movies we loved when we were kids. Even now we are still minors at heart, we all recall the first time we listened to Iron Maiden, Manowar or Judas Priest, and we immediately knew that this was what we liked.
What’s next for The Wizards? Any tours on the horizon?
GD: Our main goal right now is to play outside our country as much as we can, especially in Germany since our label is based there. And we also would love to tour Europe and the USA, maybe there will be some news soon! Thanks a lot for your interest.