Wizard Smoke
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Wizard Smoke

Atlanta, Georgia, United States | SELF

Atlanta, Georgia, United States | SELF
Band Metal Rock

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Jan
18
Wizard Smoke @ Under the Couch

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Jan
13
Wizard Smoke @ 529

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Mar
21
Wizard Smoke @ The EARL

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

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Been looking forward to this one for awhile. I love new music Tuesday.

The Speed of Smoke is psychedelic sludge rock– a new musical permutation (emphasis on mutation): there’s definitely sludge here, and it’s assuredly psychedelic, yet sounds like rock, rather than metal. There’s as much hip-shaking as head banging.

I dig it. It’s NWOBHM covering Blue Cheer.

Atlanta’s Wizard Smoke, and their previous work, Live Rock in Hell, were reviewed (on Hallowe’en, no less) here, and included on my top 20 of last year here.

Singer James Halcrow couldn’t have more distinct vocals– something like Sabbat’s Martin Walkyier, yet his own as well: a raspy as hell, how-can-he-not-shred-his-vocal-chords type of voice. You won’t forget it. The lyrics seem to tell a tale that might make a lot more sense stoned.

Starting with opening track “Dead Wood” and continuing throughout the whole album, there’s almost a swing vibe, a rockin’-yet-laid back vibe, like Jimmy Buffet if he were sold into slavery from a young age and abused meth instead of alcohol.

Track 3, “Weakling” drops in a cool talk-box lyric that works, that sounds like a Hammond B-3 organ is talking to you…yeah: this would sound even better stoned. “Panama II” swirls and rotates over the same chord, up and down, back and forth, in a vaguely Middle Eastern vibe… the snake charmer riff….

Overall, it’s a cool, very slight evolution of the sound on Live Rock in Hell. A bit more complex, more adventurous, while maintaining the same identity.

On their website you can download the whole album in high bit-rate mp3, along with a cool digital booklet in .pdf format.

Download it all free here. - Sawtoothwave.com


Alright, this is the shit right here, Wizard Smoke from Atlanta, Georgia deliver the THC sludge groove with their new album, 'The Speed Of Smoke'. This is the follow-up to the criminally underrated 'Live Rock in Hell' album. Wizard Smoke come from the usual marijuana-metal influences such as Black Sabbath and Sleep but there is something very special about this band that sets them apart from the usual weed-metal crew. They are psychedelic, somewhat progressive even but there is an enthusiasm that comes through in their music that you don't usually hear that much from the other doom plodders. Of course they have sludgy tempos and huge monolithic riffs but there is a blending of genres that come together to make the Wizard Smoke sound. It has progressive tendencies just as much as it has a early 80's 'New Wave Of British Heavy Metal' vibe in places and they certainly don't just churn out the typical dirges you would expect to hear.

The album starts with 'Dead Wood' that has Sabbathian groove and incredible hooks. The track sends a shiver up the spine because it is so damn heavy yet so irresistible and infectious. There is a real emphasis on the songwriting just as much as the amplifier-melting riffs. Same goes with second track, 'Butcher' that is less pummeling but just as infectious, this is the kind of music that makes you giddy, pure riff intoxication. Third track brings in some different elements into the mix - titled 'Weakling' it uses a Vocoder to give the vocals of James Halcrow, a strange but majestic vibe. It is not just gimmicks though as it really adds to the songs brilliance even though it was a killer tune already. The album's longest track, 'Growing' is up next and with an acoustic guitar at the beginning, it takes the album on another slight detour. Wizard Smoke's strength lays in the bands songwriting talents and 'Growing' shows the band has some real skills in composing long, engaging pieces of adventurous stoner-doom. Also every song is different from one another and seeing as a lot of stoner-doom bands use up all their ideas in one song and just merely repeat them to fill an album, this is quite the accomplishment.

'Panama II' is another winner and another distinctly different track, it has a Middle Eastern vibe and uses keyboards for hypnotic effect and it works perfectly. The album ends on the pummeling 'Witches Brew' that has more doom-laden intensity than most people could handle. This album is a decent-sized step up from 'Live Rock In Hell' - its more complex, more adventurous just like comparing Sabbath's 'Volume 4' with 'Sabbath Bloody Sabbath' I guess would be a fair comparison. I think The Soda Shop described them as 'NWOBHM covering Blue Cheer' and I think that is pretty much on the money except I would add a slight heavy-prog thing in there as well. Apart from just great song-writing, they also have a very unique vocalist in James Halcrow and killer production so this is a no-brainer and you can get it for free - here. What are you waiting for, this is awesome......9/10 - Doommantia.com


All you need to know about Wizard Smoke is right there in the band name. This is pure stoner doom – maybe a little ridiculous, but always in a wholly appropriate way. The band knows this stuff is all about sludgy tempos and huge, glassy-eyed riffs, and they deliver with clear reverence and enthusiasm for their chosen genre.

They also have a feel for the rhythm of an album. The Speed of Smoke opens and closes with its two most pummeling tracks. The four in between reward patience as they gain force through repetition then peak at exactly the right moments. It also helps that the production is exceptional – the little details come through loud and clear, and it’s those touches that give the songs their individual identities. The acoustic guitar at the beginning of “Growing” and the vocoder on “Weakling” prevent the songs some from bleeding together.

The keyboards do much of that detail work, too, and it makes the instrument a darkhorse for album MVP. Leaning too hard on the keys is maybe the surest way to turn a metal album into pure cheese, but Wizard Smoke employ the keyboard lines deliberately, typically in a supporting role, but swelling to the foreground when need. Those keys add to the hypnotic effect of some of the longer songs, especially “Panama II.”

You can trace a clear line from Black Sabbath to The Speed of Smoke, with a detour through the Sleep catalog, and that’s perfectly alright with me. This is metal as comfort food. Crank it up and zone out.

Download the album for free here. Pre-order it on vinyl here, but do it quickly – there’s only going to be 250 pressed. - littleadvances.com


Subtle only when it comes to revealing their lineup info (their Facebook page refers to them as “some dudes”), Atlanta, Georgia, five-piece Wizard Smoke emit caustic riff-driven sludge underscored with elements of guitar psych and more extreme metal. They made their debut with 2009’s giveaway EP, Live Rock in Hell (review here), and they now follow that with their first full-length cassette/vinyl/download, The Speed of Smoke. In case you’re wondering, smoke moves pretty slow for the most part, and so do Wizard Smoke, who explore familiarly riffy and familiarly Southern ground on these six mostly-extended tracks (the shortest is “Butcher” at 5:29). Fans of Weedeater will recognize a lot of the band’s tonality – Orange and Hiwatt amps put to good use – but the vocals, rather than a sludgy scream, are far back and echoed in a kind of black metal cackle that sets Wizard Smoke apart from the scores of other newcomers to the genre. The parts of The Speed of Smoke that are more directly culled from the band’s influences are still interesting and well done enough to make them worth paying attention to, and with formidable rumble underscoring the dirty guitars and throat-wrenching vocals, there’s plenty about Wizard Smoke that’s their own as well.

It’s a vinyl and cassette release, so naturally The Speed of Smoke is broken into halves with three tracks on each side. “Dead Wood” opens the record and sets the tone of heavy groove and extreme vocals that much of the rest follows. The guitars have a grit to them that’s less fuzzy than some of what’s to come, most particularly on “Butcher,” the next cut, but a few Geezer Butler-style fills add charm and thickness that would otherwise be very much absent from the recording. It’s a rudimentary production, but for a self-release, I’m not going to hold that against Wizard Smoke. Mostly it’s an issue with the snare drum, which cuts through the mix too high while the cymbals don’t sound so much open and vibrant as they do buried behind the guitars. A mixing thing. It comes out more with headphones, but even through speakers, the same applies. It wouldn’t be a problem at all but that it distracts from the riff, which especially in “Butcher” is clearly what we listening are supposed to be following. After “Dead Wood” and “Butcher,” one might thing Wizard Smoke don’t have much in store change-wise, or that The Speed of Smoke is bound for redundancy, but the eight-minute Side A closer “Weakling” puts clean vocals through a vocoder for several verses and it not only shifts the sound, but changes the momentum of the whole album. Screams are included, of course, but even just by moving away as they do from that approach for a while, Wizard Smoke show they’re not going for a Bongzilla-type single-mindedness, and it goes a long way.

Plus, it’s way stoner, which – if the name Wizard Smoke or the album title The Speed of Smoke didn’t already tell you – the band are too. So it works on that level as well. Which is nice.

Side B launches with the 10:49 “Growing,” which starts with echoey guitar lines and organ underscoring, offering a peaceful minute and a half before the guitars kick in and the aggression that permeates so much of The Speed of Smoke renews itself. There’s a satisfying breakdown riff topped with some sub-death growling after three minutes in, and the key lines don’t disappear entirely (it might be a layer of effects-laden feedback), but Wizard Smoke don’t lose sight of their core sound, which is that nasty sludge beneath. “Panama II” (a sequel, perhaps, to the Van Halen song) is fast by comparison, but still following a middle pace as regards doom tempos. The guitars show some melody, and the bass does well to complement, and there’s still that snare, but the song sounds live, and the song sounds pissed, so it works in terms of what it’s trying to accomplish. The second side of The Speed of Smoke is a full five minutes longer than the first, and between them, “Growing” and “Panama II” account for that time. By about halfway through, I’m feeling that stretch, but the song cuts to a kind of weirdo freakout that’s not really psychedelic, but still vaguely ritualized. The riff builds up again, but never quite loses the improvised jam feel that crops up, and it’s another strange turn that does a lot to break up the monotony of Wizard Smoke’s attack. By the time the riff comes back in and fades to just the synth following it, it could just as easily be Cathedral’s ‘70s horror obsession at play as Wizard Smoke’s fuck-all.

“Panama II” would have been an appropriate place to end, but “Witches Brew,” which takes an Obsessed-style doom riff and drags it all through the mud, isn’t a bad sendoff either, as it shows some more harmonic interplay between the guitars. Wizard Smoke have more to do in establishing themselves sonically, and they could do with a shift in production approach to something not necessarily cleaner (because I’m of the school that believes sludge loses its edge when it’s too cleanly produced), but still allows for a properly balanced mix. Although, as I say that, the snare seems to fade up at the end of “Witches Brew” as the song is panned from one channel to the other, so maybe it’s all on purpose and something the band deliberately wanted to do on The Speed of Smoke. I won’t pretend to know either way, but what’s clear from listening is the Georgian five-piece still give a decent showing of themselves across these tracks, and that sludge-heads looking to add something more extreme to their hearing damage have somewhere new to turn for their fix. - The Obelisk


LP: Wizard Smoke – The Speed of Smoke (2011)

9/10

Its been a good few years since a “stoner”/psychedelic metal band has come along and brought out an album that I would consider a truly original sounding landmark release (the most recent I can think of is Baroness’ 2009 LP, Blue Record; an album which anybody who appreciates progressive rock or metal owes it to themselves to listen to or just maybe Dopefight’s Buds) but Atlanta’s (USA) Wizard Smoke have unarguably accomplished this on their first LP Speed of Smoke.

Speed of Smoke sounds like the evolution of Doom/”stoner” metal. As many of their contemporaries are still working their own interpretations of Jimmy Hendrix and Black Sabbath, Wizard Smoke craft an organic synthesis of Pink Floyd’s taste for epic flowing soundscapes, effects and structuring with Electric Wizard’s riffs, rhythm and aggression to create something fresh and awesome.

Each track on Speed of Smoke seems to flow seamlessly into the next, while each track is notably different. This has a trance-like effect on the listener allowing you to get lost in the music leaving you wondering just how that 45-odd minutes of amazing music went by so fast! The production on this album is phenomenal especially on the unpredictable array of effects used on both instruments and vocals as the entirety of the bands vision is realised and communicated flawlessly.

Oh yeah, did I mention ITS FREE?! - Undergroundvideosound


Praise for Wizard Smoke‘s The Speed of Smoke from Creative Loafing Atlanta: Wizard Smoke’s second coming weaves the doom and marijuana riffage of its Live Rock in Hell debut, with prog tendencies that carry the music to higher places. The production is stepped up all around, from songwriting and conceptualization to the overall sound and depth of the recording. ‘Dead Wood’ and ‘Butcher’ open the album as a pair of solid post-Sabbath face-melters. James Halcrow’s apocalyptic shriek gets a Vocoder in ‘Weakling’, creating a mercurial feel.

There is a detectable cheese factor hiding amid such lyrics as ‘Vultures perched in high trees, surveying the ground‘, as heard on ‘Growing’, but it’s all part of Wizard Smoke’s style. The album’s strongest asset is that each song brings something different to the blackened, oceanic metal rhythms, but it’s bound by an underlying dirge that peaks with ‘Witches Brew’. It’s a monolithic conclusion to a terse album that expands upon Wizard Smoke’s already wicked charge, making the band’s sound so much greater than the sum of it’s doom-laden, stoner-rock parts. - Roadburn 2012


The devil's weed is always a little sweeter when cosmic metal monsters Wizard Smoke spark up the joint. The menacing five-piece ensemble drives its up-tempo rock 'n' roll dirges with a tongue-in-cheek attitude, while sidestepping the typical woozy-eyed dreariness that so often defines the stoner aesthetic. Wizard Smoke's songs are glacial in size and epic in stature, but there's a sense of humor hiding behind every riff throughout the band's latest LP, The Speed of Smoke. Take another hit and let the perma-grin begin. wizardsmoke.net.

Wizard Smoke frontman James Halcrow and guitarist Dan Nadolny give their reaction to winning a Best of Atlanta award this year.

Chad Radford: Now that Creative Loafing has given you two enthusiastic thumbs up, what can we expect from Wizard Smoke over the coming year?

James Halcrow: We’re working on a split 12-inch with Hawks that we recorded with Kyle Spence from Harvey Milk. We’ll have one song on it that’s like 10 minutes long. There will probably be two Hawks songs on the other side.

Dan Nadolny: We’re writing more and actively pulling back on shows. We might go on a couple of spirit quests if we get some time; see what we can do with some chemical inspiration. I would also love to do a new album in 2012.

We’re playing Chomp and Stomp too, which will increase awareness for the band…

JH: At a bluegrass festival?

DN: Well the music will take a back seat and we’re presenting food this time. It’s kind of like a bake sale for a metal band. Sean Sawyer and me are going to make a vegetarian batch of chili. You have make five gallons to enter into the official thing, so Sean and Matt [Cherry] are making some chili as well. Then we’ll take a band trip to Cosco and buy some oyster crackers.

JH: Everybody knows that Richard Blais is going to win. Everybody in Atlanta loves that fucking retard.

DN: Which guy is that?

JH: The dipshit from the food show who owns Flip Burgers or whatever you call it. Now he’s got that hot dog place where every hot dog is going be made of marzipan and foi gras with pickled beets…

DN: The Chomp and Stomp is probably a one-time deal. It will build band morale, or chili morale.

JH: It will be a fun day of drinking and playing Van Halen covers.

CR: Do you have a synth player in the group now?

JH: Yeah, Joey O’Brien, Turbo.

DN: He comes from a hip-hop background and he just bought this insane analogue synth. He’s a big nerd with an electrical engineering degree and he builds pedals. When we finally get ready to have another record together hopefully there will be some cool tasteful things that are from his frequency range on the record; things that we don’t normally touch.

CR: James, I heard that you were working on a pair of laser beam contact lenses to wear during your shows — actual contacts that shoot the red cat toy lasers?

JH: I was going to... It’s like half of a Friday the 13th mask with a battery that connects to my belt. I had a guy who said he could do it, and I gave him a bunch of merch., and I paid for the stuff, but it didn’t happen. I should’ve just asked Turbo to do it.

DN: It would be cool to have more of a spectacle at our shows. Nobody liked the Nug Henge idea.

CR: What’s Nug Henge?

DN: It’s an iconic graphic of a gigantic chunk of weed set against Stone Henge. It’s purple and it’s glorious. Sean made that in like Microsoft Paint and it was kind of our inspiration for starting this band.

CR: Really?

DN: Well, me and Matt and Sean had been playing in Cassavetes together. One day we were having practice and I had just bought this new fuzz pedal. Robbie [Horlick], the singer who’s in Book Club now, hadn’t shown up yet and we were playing way louder than usual and we were all like, “Fuck, dude, this sounds amazing! We should start a band that sounds like this and get that dude James to sing!”

Then Nug Henge came as a big inspiration after that. I had a guy who was going to print this 5’x7’ flag of it, and I went to the band and said “I’m about to pull the trigger on this, can we unfurl it during our last song?” Matt thought it would push us into the realm of parody, so we didn’t do it.

JH: We have a lot of ideas that will make us look stupid, so we don’t do them.

DN: The latest one is a cover of “Hot For Teacher,” and I think we should do it.

JH: I have no issue with it. We played it at practice the other night and it sounded pretty cool.

DN: It’s a hot button issue with the band right now. My boss saw a study that tracked the most used terms among white males on dating sites, and the most used term is “Van Halen.” If that makes us conformists, whatever.

CR: How will Wizard Smoke be affected by receiving a Best Of award from CL this year?

JH: As long as I get a plaque, or a piece of paper to hang up, it will be awesome, and it will make my mom proud. My parents won’t think I’m a useless piece of shit. … Well actually, that probably won’t change. - Creative Loafing Atlanta


Two months ago, Heavy Planet provided an introduction to Wizard Smoke, featuring the space-doomers as the day’s “New Band To Burn One To.” Their latest release, The Speed of Smoke, so fully encapsulates what Heavy Planet is all about that we’ve decided to spend just a bit more time with this dense, intergalactic, spooky, and incredibly heavy gem from one of Atlanta’s most promising acts.

From beginning to end, The Speed of Smoke oozes otherworldly psychedelia, doom/stoner grooves, and prog-rock leanings. The album is bookended by Dead Wood, a utility shed wall of doom, and Witches Brew, a fuzzy stick in the eye that whispers in both ears before collapsing your lungs with falling boulders. What lies between the two is what leaves the listener rewinding cassettes and gently dropping back the phonograph needle (yes, the album’s available in both wax and vinyl formats).

Buzzsaw guitar and wood-splitting drums are evident from the onset of Dead Wood, a tense and looming trip to a twisted-neck haze. From growls to country echoes, the vocals are too strong to let themselves be buried in the boil. Butcher then soars, falls, and settles into a stutter-step stomp, inducing involuntary nods and foot-taps. James Halcrow confidently swallows the mic and washes it down with jagged rock, while guitars move in every direction.

A low buzz bridges into Weakling, a bass-laden bounce that cooks down to a full-band assault. What steals the song’s thunder, though, is the confident use of a vocoder that’ll make you jealous of anyone who sported sideburns through the 1970’s. Halcrow’s space-robot gives way to his pissed-off lothario as he screams disparaging remarks too colorful for this review.

Bayou guitar-picking introduces Growing as keyboards hover and fade. The guitars here layer themselves, one by one, until bass enters and fills a low-tempo hike. The vocals are disgruntled and demented, the track ascends through darkness, and guitar work remains the highlight. Growing kinda feels like losing a long battle, though Wizard Smoke ultimately rise and earn the last laugh.

Prog-heavy Panama II trudges through an ominous chorus with bass and drums clicking just beyond space-cavern strings. The song dissects itself and you’ll enjoy a spiritual hum before returning to what sounds a bit like Link’s adventures through The Legend of Zelda.

Apprehension bubbles just before Witches Brew melts through riffs, jams, and a closing that most bands are too exhausted to actually pull off. This is one of the better albums you’ll hear this year. The track placement is perfect, the sounds are jaw-dropping, and the heavy is incessant. Put The Speed of Smoke on your “must-hear” list of 2011 and sit back as you’re guided through a black cosmos. - Heavyplanet.net


I’ve seen punishing doom purveyors, Wizard Smoke, several times before but never have they sounded as gut-wrenchingly cathartic as they did at 529 a couple of weeks ago opening for Obits. Maybe it was the new material or the addition of drummer Dave Eidson (ex-Gates of Berlin) to the lineup but the band played tighter and were full of more sinister menace than ever before. Their whole set was like a violent purging; the crushing riffs just seemed to pour ominously out of the speakers, hammering the crowd down like so many flesh and guts nails. And what better way to close out their night than with a lumbering seven and a half minute stompfest full of droning doomsday guitars and James Halcrow’s ear-piercing screams? Yeah, exactly. - Latest Disgrace


Big things are around the corner. Wizard Smoke will release their new album ‘The Speed of Smoke’ on 3/29. Wizard Smoke, an Atlanta band that has shared various local venue stages with Torche, Red Fang, Zoroaster, Coliseum, Kylesa, Thrones and others, features members of the bands Maserati, Dust Rabbit, and Cassavetes, among others. They released an album in 2009, entitled “Live Rock In Hell”. Dan Nadolny, who plays in Wizard Smoke, says “The kids call us a "doom" band, which means there's screaming and heavy riffs and stuff. But you knew that.” These are humble words and it is only half the truth. This monster, named ‘The Speed of Smoke’, crawls out from the swamps of the Deep South. Wizard Smoke is not only a damn good doom band - this is the real stuff!

Wizard Smoke shows references to Weedeater, especially in the vocals, but they go far beyond the tight limits of the genre. They offer the full spectrum of a musical kaleidoscope, which glows in the brightest colors of psychedelic sludgy doom. The production is excellent and all songs are HEAVY AS FUCK! No fillers, only killers! ‘The Speed of Smoke’ is rotating in my cd player since days and I can hardly get enough of it. This is one of the best albums of 2011 so far, if not the best. There's no doubt about it. This is the soundtrack of the apocalypse. The world will be doomed with a big bang or with Wizard Smoke’s masterpiece ‘The Speed of Smoke’.

Highly recommended! Big thanks to Dan Nadolny for providing their new album for preview.

Wizard Smoke is giving this album away digitally beginning 3/29. They're playing their release show on 4/30 at the Drunken Unicorn in Atlanta and will have vinyl and cassettes for sale there and online afterwards. - Captain Beyond Zen


Weed makes music better, even the shittiest, vomit-inducing minutia that employs guitars will seem interesting and timeless (i.e. 311). But if a band is already top notch, big hits of THC will take the sound to a new level. In the case of Wizard Smoke, the riffs gain girth, and images of the band kicking Jesus in the tender bag while high-fiving the devil should be expected to careen into one’s consciousness. “To my ears, when you’re high [music] is something huge and crushing,” says guitarist Dan Nadolny. “I don’t know if our stuff is repetitive, but you’re not going to hear a bridge or chorus for a minute and half. If you happen to be in the state of mind that is a little more open to letting the clock tick, then Wizard Smoke will work for you.”

But though weed truly plays its role in the slow gloom of the metal outfit — the band’s moniker itself is named after the legal bud that gets smoked up in films — the quintet’s ethos is more about having a good time than focusing on drugs. “It’s not like we are massive potheads inspired by weed,” screamer James Halcrow laughs, pointing out that the majority of the band are merely casual smokers. “It’s a tongue and cheek sort of thing; not really a joke, but we don’t take it too seriously.”

It’s this lax attitude that separates Wizard Smoke from their peers and is one of the reasons that the band plays more shows with rock bands than with fellow brothers of the down tune and somber. The constant smiles marking each member’s face when they play defiantly goes against the snarling look most come to expect from a band of such maniacal sounds.

“It’s fun for us, that goes with out saying,” Nadolny explains of their on-stage joy. “At practice we come up with something, and we are just pumping our fists about it. It feels good, but we’re not tough guys. We’re not trying to look the part. It’s easy to get caught up in the imagery of the genre, but we’re not interested.”

“There’s a lot of metal bands around town I enjoy playing with,” Says Halcrow, “but I prefer to book a show with a non-metal band I like. It seems more special when we do it that way because it gives people a chance to hear something they normally might not hear.” He admits his favorite show was playing with the garage rock band Obits.

One thing that has helped push Wizard Smoke onto non-metal crowds has been the sheer fact that this is most of the guy’s first foray into metal. Nadolny details the band’s early roots that took shape when he was in the Cassavetes. He says that during one practice the amps got turned up, bailing on the Springsteen style rock to play with some noise, or as he put it, “write some riff shit”. But the old elements still surface in some of Wizard Smoke’s newer tracks. Listen to the full rock jam near the end of “Witches Brew” for proof.

Now with the band’s second album Speed of Smoke readied for your hard drive for free (Yes, they love you that much) and your analog player for a small cost (If you can touch it, it needs money), many will find the band has not only tightened up and matured since their first release Live Rock In Hell, but also that synths have crept their way into the music. “It seems like we were just getting the base of our sound down before, but now we’re more comfortable with it and more comfortable experimenting,” says Halcrow. Bassist Matt Cherry (also of Maserati) was able work his synthesizers and electronic magic into the ominous textures that surround Speed of Smoke.

One track (“Weakling”) has Halcrow’s scream sounding like a demon that was lost from Pink Floyd’s The Wall. During our long interview he admitted his sole intention on using a Vocoder was to nab from Thrones, a one-man band designed by former Melvins bassist Joe Preston.

“We played that song once or twice at shows before we went into the studio, and I had been doing it with straight vocals. The night before we went into the studio I was listening to Thrones, and I was like, ‘I’m stealing that and puttin’ it on that.’ I don’t care. I’m being shameless. I was actually pissed off it didn’t sound exactly like [Thrones].”

Right now, Wizard Smoke has a slew of shows coming up (including their album release show at the Drunken Unicorn on April 30th), which is a very different state from the one the band was in a year ago. The previous rule was only play every so often and make it memorable each time — a damned event for people to brag about. “It was easier to say that back then,” Halcrow says. “Matt was adamant that we were gonna be a seasonal band and only play four shows a year. Fuck that. I don’t want to do that.”

“That was the plan,” Nadolny reasoned, “but we had to find a medium. We can play a little bit more often than that and people will still show up. We inexplicably get show offers to open for great bands — even though we only played four or five shows. We fucking had Torche and other bands wanting us to play. There’s a general rule: if you’re good and you limit the appearances you make, it’s better for you, but you don’t want to fucking cut your nuts off.”

All of this bears a big question, as there is now quite the national hype staring down at the band. Does the band plan to hit the road, leaving our city behind for a bit? No, even though they’ve had offers. The chance to open for the legendary, hook-drunk band Floor is the latest trek to be turned down. “I’d personally love to tour for a short couple of weeks,” says Nadolny.

Halcrow quickly adds, “I don’t feel the need for it. Where we are it is totally fine.”

“If we can just continue making great records and playing as often as we do, that’s cool with me for now. I’d love to play in front of ten people in Iowa someday,” Nadolny laughs, embracing the truthful sarcasm of tour life. “It doesn’t look like it’s in the forecast for now.”

Speed of Smoke came out digitally for free today and pre-orders for the luscious vinyl version are now being taken. - PurgeATL


Wizard Smoke's second coming weaves the doom and marijuana riffage of its Live Rock in Hell debut, with prog tendencies that carry the music to higher places. The production is stepped up all around, from songwriting and conceptualization to the overall sound and depth of the recording. "Dead Wood" and "Butcher" open the album as a pair of solid post-Sabbath face-melters. James Halcrow's apocalyptic shriek gets a Vocoder in "Weakling," creating a mercurial feel. There is a detectable cheese factor hiding amid such lyrics as "Vultures perched in high trees, surveying the ground," as heard on "Growing," but it's all part of Wizard Smoke's style. The album's strongest asset is that each song brings something different to the blackened, oceanic metal rhythms, but it's bound by an underlying dirge that peaks with "Witches Brew." It's a monolithic conclusion to a terse album that expands upon Wizard Smoke's already wicked charge, making the band's sound so much greater than the sum of it's doom-laden, stoner-rock parts. (4 out of 5 stars) - Creative Loafing Atlanta


I have neither the proper subwoofer nor the proper, y’know, glassware to fully appreciate the bong resin-saturated heaviness of Wizard Smoke’s second album, The Speed of Smoke. To my totally non-high ass though, listening to this album is every bit as enjoyable as burning a fatty, and totally holds up without one.

That’s not something that you can say about just any band of blazing metalheads. Stoner metal can be a torpid bore when it relies on a few pentatonic riffs and the narcotized state of the listener. Not so with Wizard Smoke. No question, these Atlantans have the stoner moves down cold – bass-heavy warmth to the production, psychedelic wah-wah guitar licks, vestigial bluesiness, mid-tempo riff repetition in most songs. But unlike so much fodder for baked headbanging, Wizard Smoke sound angry. Your genial stoner buddy wouldn’t scream “Wipe that smile off your fucking face, you fucking whore!” as James Halcrow does on The Speed of Smoke, would he? Even the band’s most obvious, lunkheaded moments like “Butcher” and “Witches Brew” provide an excellent soundtrack for self-punching, and the punching of others.

But Wizard Smoke go beyond the signifiers, beyond mere hostility. There’s something almost spiritual about the fluid time signature switches in “Dead Wood” and the cosmic vocoder employed on “Weakling.” In fact, the passage from “Weakling” to “Growing” to “Panama II” is totally transcendent, a ritualistic heavy metal godhead, intensified by electric organ and the surprisingly nuanced drumming of Dave Eidson. During these 27 minutes in headcrush nirvana, it’s as if Wizard Smoke has bypassed the weed, and accessed the core of stonedness itself. - MetalSucks.com


WIZARD SMOKE stammen aus dem personellen Umfeld der Postrocker MASERATI, die schon mit A.ARMADA ein nettes (wenn auch stilistisch nicht gerade sonderlich originelles) Side-Projekt abwarfen. Im Gegensatz zu diesen beiden verwandten Bands frönen WIZARD SMOKE allerdings keinem rein instrumentalen "Rockband-Formation macht orchestral arrangierte Psychedelic-Soundwände"-Kram, sondern Doom Metal mit Geschrei!

Auch das ist vielleicht nicht wirklich originell, geht im vorliegenden Fall aber tatsächlich ganz gut rein und außerdem schaut man dem geschenkten Gaul bekanntlich nicht ins Maul.

Das etwas verquere Mini-Album "Live Rock In Hell" (vier richtige Songs, zwei mal seltsame Füllware hintendran) gibt es hier zum Download:
www.wizardsmoke.net - Krach und so...


Wizard Smoke - Live Rock in Hell

I researched this band simply because they were playing a show with Red Fang in another state. I was immediately impressed and, even, jealous because I'm sure that show was outstanding. Wizard Smoke has an overall sound that can be described as stoner metal, with vocals that are more black metal in style. Generally I don't care for the kind of vocals, but they're blended in with the music in a way that's, at the very least, tolerable. The first two songs on this EP stand out something awful, especially "I", but after a hundred listens I've grown to like "III" and "IV" nearly just as much. The fact that I had to hear of this band by chance exploration rather than by any supposed "authority" on stoner music makes me doubt these authorities' usefulness, as Live Rock In Hell is only a hesitation away from being my favorite of the year.

http://seeingthedark.com/sounds/2009/12/the_year_2009_-_albums_part_three.html - Seeing the Dark


Whether or not Wizard Smoke got their moniker from the Stoner Rock Band Name Generator, I don’t know, but the Atlanta-based five-piece has their first offering in the form of the self-released Live Rock in Hell, and in the true sprit of demo promotion, they’re giving it away for free. The zip file I downloaded contained high quality mp3s (no 128k for these doomers) as well as front and back artwork for the disc. It’s not everybody’s bag, giving away their hard work, but it should be.

For their part, Wizard Smoke, who boast former/current members of Maserati and Dust Rabbit, pull down their fly and let loose a stream of screamy doom that smells like fried chicken and leaves a stain on the rug. Their five tracks (not counting the bonus cut) are Roman numerals, not names, and they’re not in the order you might think, starting with “II” instead of “I” before going into “III,” “IV” and ending with “I (Reprise),” You could call Live Rock in Hell an EP if you felt like it, since it’s under half an hour, but it could just as easily pass for a full-length. Suit yourself either way. I doubt the band gives a shit.

Likely, they’re too busy riffing out on something born of C.O.C. and Sleep and jamming drunkenly through their tunes as they do on their debut. The production is meh in the tradition of meh production, which will only further the requisite Eyehategod comparisons that seem to be heaped upon everything sludgy these days, but you can still get a sense of what Wizard Smoke are trying to achieve with Live Rock in Hell. And unless I’m wrong, they’re trying to fuck you up with sound.

They're here somewhere.Songs come in a range of lengths, from the livelier, start-stop stoner “III” at 3:44 to the more methodical plod of “II” at 8:18, and Wizard Smoke add some variety to their sound while keeping it well within the vein of modern underground sludge. Austin’s The Roller aren’t a bad comparison point, though perhaps this is less outwardly hip. Still, wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest to see these dudes opening for Sourvein sometime soon, all hailing the leaf and the South and whatnot as they do. Nothing against any of it.

The previously-alluded-to bonus track, dubbed “IVIIIIIII,” is the entire release backwards, which is clever but entirely unlistenable. When I reversed it in Audacity to confirm my suspicions, I listened through again and, thinking about it, putting all their songs together as one track might be a good way for Wizard Smoke to go next time around. Just something for the band to think about.

On a casual level, this is stuff that’s been done before, but Wizard Smoke do it well on Live Rock in Hell, and with the asking price, I’m not about to hold any lack of individuality against them. Given some more development, I expect they’ll grow into themselves, and then they can start worrying about charging for their releases. In the meantime, doom on. - The Obelisk


Wizard Smoke Offer Up First Album for Free

by Matt Debenedictis

What exactly is Wizard Smoke? Many people know it as the legal bud that gets smoked up in movies to give off that authentic looking cloud release without having to commit a crime on a set, but now Wizard Smoke is also the name of a band from Atlanta, Ga that, in a very short of amount of time and with only a few local shows under their belt, is grabbing up attention and Internet talk from all over the globe simply because they are giving their debut album away for free.

"If you're a new band and really want people to listen to your music, you have to prime the pump somehow," guitarist Dan Nadolny told Noisecreep on the band's decision to give up their first recording. "Digital formats are the best way to get your music into the most hands possible, but you've got to give that stuff away for free. Especially the CDs, because CDs are for chumps," he expressed. "Nowadays they are just a method for delivering music to your computer to be ripped as MP3s. After that's done, they are completely worthless pieces of trash, so no one wants to pay for them. People won't pay for MP3s either if they can help it. But if you give them something for nothing, they will be that much more stoked on it and they might even come to your show."

Within minutes of the band putting 'Live Rock in Hell' online, glowing reviews began posting all over the Internet; the first being from a German metal blog. Nadolny attributes the attention to their early Electric Wizard-style fuzzed out sound, comparing the response to the result of grocery store marketing. "It's like the free cheese kiosk at Whole Foods,' he analogizes, "You say, 'Hey, this is good,' and find yourself talking up Beachwood-aged Havarti to your friends, largely because it didn't cost jack."

To many familiar with the list of bands the members of Wizard Smoke are in/have been in the heavy stoner sound is a big departure from the more soft and hooky music they all play. But when everyone jammed together it made sense. "It felt good, damn good," Nadolny says over the session that birthed the band. "[James Halcrow] was a mutual friend of everyone and a veritable professor emeritus of doom, so it made sense to get him involved. [Ben Arnold] was said to have broken a brass gong clean in half after one hit. So that was appealing. He was in. We've all spent time in less 'metal' acts, but we're definitely fans of really thick, dense, tormented-sounding shit as well. Earplugs can be fun."

When the band started a goal was set to only play off and on at set times in the year. "A couple of us were in past bands that we felt played a little too often. When your band is playing shows ever other week, it's really hard to get your friends to come out regularly," explained Nadolny. "Plus, it's always nice to have something new to offer at each show, whether it's a couple of new songs or a cover or some stupid stage antics."

But the buzz the band has behind them has them maybe willing to play more than they originally planned, but still the simple reason they all got together still remains no matter how many shows they get offered to play. "Overall, though, we didn't really have many expectations to begin with. Being in the band is basically an excuse for us to all hang out with each other, drink beer and shoot the s- anyway," says Nadolny. When we started writing music and it was actually pretty good, it was a bonus for us. The fact that other people seem to like it makes us just want to drink more beer and hang out more often." - Noisecreep


This little beauty showed up in my mailbox the other day, then proceeded to fill my room with herb smoke. Well, not really, but that’s pretty much what it felt like. This limited edition cassette by Wizard Smoke is a heavy number, low-fidelity stoner doom at it’s finest. This should satisfy any fans of Weedeater, High On Fire, Electric Wizard, etc. It’s limited to 140 copies, comes in a couple of different colors, includes a free CD, and is only $6. Highly recommended for the tape fiends. If you still can’t decide, you can download the whole album first at WizardSmoke.net. - OMG Vinyl


A late entry for metal album of the year consideration, Live Rock In Hell, the delightfully doomy self-released debut from Atlanta's Wizard Smoke will have fans of overdriven Marshalls thanking Satan. The five tracks denoted only by Roman numerals (out of sequence!) clock in at under 30 minutes but that's about all that Wizard Smoke needs to flatten the competition.

You can check it out here but be forewarned, the scorching sound of Wizard Smoke may inspire spontaneous Econoline mural painting. - The Perlich Post


My Personal Faves For 2009
POSTED FRIDAY 12.18.09


Wizard Smoke - Live Rock In Hell (www.wizardsmoke.net)

- Chunklet Magazine/Chunklet.com


Label: Self Released
Year: 2009

I must preface by saying that this record was provided by the band for free download, so you can be guilt-free in your piracy.

Also, I will say, this record admittedly belongs on Colostomy Grab-Bag (or Sludge Swamp), but I think we can all equally rock out to these blasts of stoner doom. Plus, the make-up of this band was spawned from some local Atlanta/Athens, math rock types. Dudes from bands like Maserati, Cassavetes, and Dust Rabbit among others. You've probably never heard of any of those bands, because you probably don't live in the greater Atlanta metro area, so you'll just have to take my word for their pedigree.

Back to Wizard Smoke.
If you could take the wall of sound generated by Electric Wizard, some of Matt Pike's cyclic riffing, some of Sword's southern fried solos, and a little bit of the general thunder boogie of Skullfuzz, then you'll be in the right wheelhouse. Suffice it to say, this is heavy metal. If you don't like heavy metal, then you won't want to get too involved in this one. If you think heavy metal is a good time, then I would suggest getting into some of this dirge rock. - shinygreymonotone.blogspot.com


Wizard Smoke - Live Rock in Hell at number 11.

http://blogs.creativeloafing.com/cribnotes/2009/12/31/chad-radfords-picks-for-best-atlanta-releases-of-09/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:%20clcribnotes%20%28Crib%20Notes%29 - Creative Loafing Atlanta


Discography

Live Rock in Hell - 2009
The Speed of Smoke - 2011

Photos

Bio

Wizard Smoke causes sudden fits of head-bobbing and horn-throwing.

It is an Atlanta-based doom/stoner/metal/drone outfit that has shared the stage with national acts such as Kylesa, Harvey Milk, Zoroaster, Torche, Coliseum, Wolves in the Throne Room, Red Fang, Thrones and more. Its second album (entitled "The Speed of Smoke") was completed in March 2011 and was met with enormous praise and heavy downloads.

The band is a unique amalgamation of well-seasoned sounds such as Witch, Deep Purple, Sleep, Flower Travellin' Band, Kyuss, Clutch and Black Sabbath but delivered with a hulking ferocity and diversity of textures heretofore unattempted in the "stoner metal" genre.

Riffs. Density. A soundtrack to enormity.