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The Black Wizards – Reflections Award winner

The Black Wizards
by Dave Nowels at 16 September 2019, 9:23 AM

Coming to celebrate the Fuzz all the way from Portugal are THE BLACK WIZARDS with their newest offering, “Reflections”, via Raging Planet. “Reflections” is the band's third full-length, and follows “What The Fuzz?”, “Lake of Fire” and the bands debut EP, “Fuzzadelic”. Stoner, Psychedelic and as indicated in their album titles, Fuzz are what THE BLACK WIZARDS have in their arsenal of incantations. By and by, it's a fairly standard pouch of spell components they're utilizing. But while standard on the surface, it's executed masterfully. Here and there and everywhere, they hit you with something you weren't expecting hidden up their robed sleeves and it's wicked, clever and uniquely compelling.

“Reflections” opens with “Imposing Sun”, a layered straight ahead rocker that I found somewhat deceptive when compared to the remainder of the album. In fact, “Imposing Sun” turned out to be my least favorite track. That's not to say it's a bad song. Quite the contrary, it's executed really well. It's chock full of layered fuzz and fun. It's just out of place to my ears. It seems like a track that the band was aiming towards radio more than anything else. If so, quite understandable.

The rest of the album I found a wonderful surprise, and much more fluid to a common theme. The root of that theme is psychedelia and a passionate run of guitar licks song after song. Paulo Ferreira has certainly studied the bluesier approach to his six string, but the ability to convey true passion in his playing is what shines here. “Soul Keeper” is a perfect example. The late solos just drips with emotion. As good as Ferreira's playing is, the true secret weapon here is Joana Brito and her sultry, psychedelic approach. From the opening rocker, to the heavy psych of  “Symphony of the Ironic Sympathy”, and “Kaleidoscope Eyes” (the song which the album's title is derived from) to the sensually dreamy and downright jazzy, “Starlight”, Brito's contributions are something special. A personal highlight was “Symphony of the Ironic Sympathy's" fevered closing, which brought to my mind Punk goddess Patti Smith. Just exceptional.

THE BLACK WIZARD'S are an earthy, organic band, and quite capable of inspiring cosmic travel under the right circumstances. The grooves are driven, the transitions fractal, and the destination yet to be decided. Throw on “Reflections”, relax, adjust your consciousness however you see fit, dim the lights, burn your favorite incense and take a psychedelic trip with THE BLACK WIZARDS.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Imposing Sun
2. Outlaws
3. 56th Floor
4. Starlight
5. Symphony of the Ironic Sympathy
6. Soul Keeper
7. Kaleidoscope Eyes
Joana Brito – Vocals, Guitar
Paulo Ferreira – Guitars
Fipu – Bass
João Lugatte – Drums, Congas and Percussion
Nuno Gonçalves – Keyboards, Rhodes
Rita Sampaio &  Budda Guedes – Additional Vocals
Record Label: Raging Planet


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Edited 28 May 2023

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