Ten Foot Wizard – Sleeping Volcanoes ALBUM REVIEW

My first impression of Sleeping Volcanoes was that it was run of the mill stoner rock, mostly made by the corny lyrics and unimaginative nature of the music. Which surprised me, considering this band has one of the most laid back names I’ve ever heard, and the music felt like what you’d listen to at a trailer park in the south. It became apparent that this is very intentional, as Ten Foot Wizard is a VERY southern influenced band. It edges way more towards the blues side of stoner rock, which is especially pronounced in the guitar tone. The album includes banjo interludes, even having a track that sounds like someone recorded a guy fiddling around on his banjo while sitting on his rocking chair on his front porch (I say he because let’s face it, this is the south we’re talking about). There’s a certain quirkiness to this album that adds some flavor in what is mostly an average record. The sound is very old school, which is in direct opposition to the current trend of modernizing stoner rock/metal. There’s also two brief periods of stoner doom, but they feel more like afterthoughts than any major part of the album. What truly separates this album from the rest of the stoner rock lot of 2015 is the last track, Ode to Death. Because boy, it FEELS like an Ode to Death. It starts off calm, with a bit of tearful twang in the guitar. God damn that guitar tone. It sounds like typical blues guitar, but it just so contrasts with the rest of the album being all “get drunk and fuck a pig” that I can’t help but feel moved. The track builds tension of momentum better than the large majority of post-metal bands ever could. When the climax hits, it hits at just the right level of hard. Enough to feel it good, but not enough to blow you off your feet and disorient you. The unfortunate part is that this climax comes at around the 60% mark of the track, the rest being some light noodling over a sample of a monologue about death and our place in life. I won’t lie, the sampled speech does feel fitting, and it isn’t a totally bad closer, but I do feel that this would’ve been much better if Wizard let the music do the talking, instead of someone else. Sleeping Volcanoes feels like it’s sleeping while the music is nothing but sleepy, then awakens when the music takes a chill pill to relax, only to erupt when the time is right. A good but not great album with a cover art that couldn’t represent the band’s name better unless it was literally a 10 ft wizard on the cover.


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