“Triumph of Gloom”

by Dr. Abner Mality

Despite having the word “Wizard” in their name, Rebel Wizard is thankfully not another doom/sludge act. Kind of a relief, really. They use the term “negative metal” to describe themselves. Although I think we need another micro-genre like a hole in the head, I have to say that Rebel Wizard is indeed doing something a little different which can’t be easily described. And that’s no small thing these days.

The band is the creation of an Australian mage named NKSV, whom you may know from the noisy sludge band Nekrasov. Rebel Wizard is nothing like Nekrasov. If you could imagine very ornate power metal mixed with raw and FAST black metal, you might get an idea of what “negative metal” is. Despite the power metal reference, there’s nothing polished about this. The music is LOUD and the guitar sound rather abrasive. But the melody is there beyond a doubt. There’s a touch of very early NWOBHM to this,too and a kind of baroque, medieval quality that reminded me of the band Obsequiae.

Quite a combination! Most of the songs are fairly brief in duration, though there are a couple of longer ones. The “negative” part is reinforced by the constant sampled narration that pops up during the album…some gloomy asshole telling us how meaningless our lives are. A real barrel of laughs, he is.  The thing is, the riffing here is extremely powerful and engaging. Tracks like “Trampled By Wolves And Sheep” and “Ease of Wretchedness and Wonder” are blazingly fast and the way they mix black metal with traditional medieval sounding riffs is killer. Vocals tend to be ripping black shrieks. Slower and longer tunes like “A Spell of Sorrow To Break the Curse of Triumph” and “Hemorrhage Wonders” have a hypnotic baroque doominess to them. As you can tell by the song titles, lyrics are also most unconventional.

I liked “Triumph of Gloom” a lot! The weird mix of different metal genres here creates something very intriguing. I still don’t think much of the term “negative metal” but that’s only a small quibble. Something for the adventurous to explore!