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Hazemaze – Blinded by the Wicked

Hazemaze
Blinded by the Wicked
by Gary Hernandez at 25 March 2022, 3:18 PM

HAZEMAZE is as constant as Northern star. Formed in 2016 from the Stoner Metal mecca of Stockholm, Sweden, this trio (lineup unchanged for six years!) curiously debuted with a live album. From there it was LP, LP, then in answer to the gods and in line with all predictions a full-on Sabbath cover EP, and now with another LP, “Blinded by the Wicked.” Most people say they get better with each release, and I won’t argue with that. “Blinded by the Wicked” is an exquisite slab of Stoner Doom Metal.

The band has never been shy about their SABBATH influences, but whereas many bands are derivative, HAZEMAZE takes SABBATH as a launch point, exploring nuances and explicating inflection points. And they do it all with the economy of a trio! In short, this is some tight shit. “Blinded by the Wicked” comprises eight tracks and has a full runtime of over 41 minutes. Thematically, the songs center on exactly what the title suggests. From the Heaven’s Gate Cult (“Ethereal Disillusion”) to the Satan’s Children cult in Australia (“Ceremonial Aspersion”) to the wicked deeds of convicted murderer/rapist Marcus Wesson (“In the Night of the Light, for the Dark”), the band takes on unblinking look at the evil spawned by man and the people who willingly or not fall under their influence. Yeah, some sobering shit and I think besides the musical aesthetic, this is at the core of true Sabbathian music. And this is where HAZEMAZE excels.

Standout tracks as always will fall to the taste of the listener, but for me my favorites list includes opening track “In the Night of the Light, for the Dark,” Stoner Doom mana “Luciferian Rite,” and Hammond organ infused “Ceremonial Aspersion.” Other distinctive accents are the mid-album “Sectatores et Principes” (trans: followers and leaders) which acts as an interlude, concluding Side A of the vinyl right before “Ceremonial Aspersion” kicks in the doors of Side B. And can we talk about “Luciferian Rites” again? Fucking smooth as silk riff, Walken cowbells, 60’s psyche synths, and then the holy break at the 4:22 mark with a snarling, nasty bassline, steady as balls drums, and a reprieve of the god almighty battle-axe riff to bring it all home. Too good, that one.

I do like me some HAZEMAZE. Again, these guys know what they are doing, and they stick to it. They have a trajectory and they do not deviate. No question about who they are, no navel gazing, no existential distractions, no whining. All that is to say, Doom and Stoner fans should be checking “Blinded by the Wicked” posthaste. You can thank me later. Cash is always appropriate.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1.  In the Night of the Light, for the Dark
2.  Devil's Spawn
3.  Ethereal Disillusion
4.  Sectatores et Principes
5.  Ceremonial Aspersion
6.  Divine Harlotry
7.  Luciferian Rite
8.  Malevolent Inveigler
Lineup:
Estefan Carrillo – Bass
Nils Ein – Drums
Ludvig Andersson – Vocals, guitars
Record Label: Heavy Psych Sounds Records
     


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