|Cover artwork by Dena Lazarenko.|
The curtains flash open and a cloud of vapor stumbles forth like a confused and poisoned mob. Somewhere behind the opaque density are a band of dopey eyed, numbly grinning wizards, hidden in this occult fashion from the eyes of the uninitiated. If one could pierce the vaporous veil, they would see these wizards playing decidedly energetic rock n roll, even though, if one could actually see the band through the haze, the performances don't come across as highly energetic but appears as a group of guys comfortable in their own skin. Wizards can do it in their sleep.
Psychedelic clouds grace the stroke of "Midnight", the witching hour arrives to showcase a darker side of the band with the threat of being accosted by green skinned, wide eyed and grinning witches crouching just behind every fence on the way home. One thing 'Young Wisdom' has plenty of is excellent leads and "Midnight" is another strong example of guitarists Grant and Cook's ability to weave a perfect spell without having to get too busy. Their fretwork pyrotechnics appear in the form of smoke-filled atmospheres and gibbous textures rather than a series of choreographed explosions. "Something Sweet" appeals to the sweaty, long-haired scumbag in all of us combining blistering leads with doomed darkness. The band doesn't need to ram their technical excellence down listeners' throats, they just give a song what it needs, short bursts of hyperactivity included. The excellence here is in the riffs and the tightness of the songwriting.
The album title 'Young Wisdom' sums it all up, but it also betrays this band of miscreants for what they really are. For all the surface beer bonging and bowl smoking there's a sensitivity on this album towards not overdoing anything and maintaining delicately balanced atmospheres. Sure, you could try to chalk up the 'not overdoing anything' philosophy to burnt out pot-headed laziness, but that's not what's going on here. The wizard is a thinking man with a master's ability and this band does their level best to honor the tradition. Some of this record's greatest accomplishments are what Black Wizard didn't do. They didn't go overboard when they could have, they didn't sacrifice feel to showcase exuberant individual ability. Oh, there's dynamism and shreddery afoot, but they keep things on an even keel throughout the record. Basically, 'Young Wisdom' earns the dudes a master's degree in rip-roarin'!
|Image courtesy of The Vancouver Sun.|
Highlights include: "H.U.G.H." and "Wicked Wanderer"
Total Run Time: 35:45
Adam Grant - Guitars, vocals
Kenneth Paul Cook - Guitars
Evan Joel - Bass
Eugene Parkomenko - Drums