'The Speed Of Smoke'
From the moment I saw the title of this album, I knew, without even having to give it a listen, that it was going to be a doom metal album. And I was right. But what was presented here on Atlanta, Georgia’s Wizard Smoke’s album 'The Speed of Smoke' is slightly different than what I expected.
What we’re dealing with here is very laid back doom/sludge metal (really more on the sludge side than anything) with some bluesy acoustic intros (“Growing”) and monolithically slow, heavy riffs, dripping with an overabundance of sludge and shrouded in a cloudy haze of effervescent smoke. While the music here does its job in creating the mood of lazy relaxation, what really impressed me about this album was its ability to remain so chill and laid-back despite having vocals that, ordinarily, would contradict that atmosphere completely. Though checked and balanced by an extremely echo-filled production, the vocals here consist mostly of high shrieks and raspy screams, which, in my opinion, are executed very well, and only help to enhance a sound that may otherwise have been rendered boring and overdone by a more traditional doom/sludge vocalist.
Some songs do drag on a bit and get a tad boring (“Butcher”), but I find that, although this album is filled with riffs that are fairly mediocre, it serves as an excellent soundtrack to laying back and relaxing, whether you’re smoking the ganja, or just trying to wind down, this album is pretty much perfect. However, the same can’t be said for much else going on in this release, as there really aren’t any features musically that stand out as being spectacular, impressive, or even, at times, memorable. I suggest that if you can’t pick up what Wizard Smoke is putting down with 'The Speed of Smoke'’s lazy and laid-back music, you should probably give it a pass. Otherwise, I’d say check it out, and I know I sure enjoyed it!