Undoubtedly, music can transport us to parallel worlds. By hitting ‘play,’ we can be transported to outer space, to a battlefield, or in the case of BOG WIZARD, to a world inspired by Dungeons and Dragons where we can be chased by an ogre. With this topic, the American band BOG WIZARD presents storytelling-oriented songs which allow the listener to embark on magical journeys – especially if they are more cheerful and dreamy than normal (wink).
Elements of stoner, doom, and sludge metal are present in each track. Their simple but dark and heavy riffs allow us to identify BOG WIZARD as one of the heirs of the fathers of heavy metal, BLACK SABBATH. A clear example is the title track “Miasmic Purple Smoke». Throughout the album, persistent guitars joined by indefatigable drumming give us the feeling of advancing in a never-ending mission. Songs that reach up to twelve minutes with reiterative instrumental sections might feel a bit too repetitive to the listener. However, it all depends on personal taste, because if we listen to the album from a stoner point of view, and we keep in mind the band’s intention of creating experiences, BOG WIZARD meets all the requirements.
Miasmic Purple Smoke also fits perfectly in the stoner and doom category due to its production sound. The distortion and potent overdrive give it a retro cassette feel that we could visually describe as a grainy photograph. While these effects are present in the guitars and in the bass, the sound of the drums is more solid and cleaner. Meanwhile, the voice displays a wide range and a variety of textures. Throughout the recording, we hear guttural and raspy voices, aggressive singing in the middle register, and choruses that reach high notes.
The album opens with “Barbaria”, a doomy song with dirty guitars and lyrical motifs that remind us of early CATHEDRAL. In this track, we hear a variety of voices: guttural singing, which seems to be coming out of the abyss, and hymnic-like singing in the high register, which places the listener within a type of religious ritual. Towards the end, the tempo of the song speeds up. This musical procedure emulates a storytelling structure in which the end is different from the place of departure. Moving forward, “The Rouge” starts with a spoken voice that tells the listeners about how they are trapped in a dungeon. This is followed by dissonant voices in the high register with an interesting delay effect. What stands out in this piece is the powerful heaviness of its guitar riffs, reminiscent of the best albums of the Swedish band CELTIC FROST. The first two songs, which sum up to 18 minutes, are followed by “Grindmark”, a surprising and short bass instrumental that makes us visualize a walk through a forest.
After the long track, “Miasmic Purple Smoke” comes “Stuck in the Muck”, a very short piece that helps balance out the album. Its shortness, its glissando riff, its fast tempo, and its direct and aggressive voice show us a punky side of BOG WIZARD which is still loyal to their essence. The recording closes with the most sinister and psychedelic song, “The Void Beckons”. The piece’s rhythmic and repetitive riff, along with highly distorted guitars and glissando synthesizers, immerse the listener in an acoustic and phantasmagorically smoke that mimics the one represented on the album cover. Keeping in mind the title and its position as the last song of the album, the band could be making a nod to “Into the Void”, the piece that closes the legendary Master of Reality by BLACK SABBATH.
Without a doubt, Miasmic Purple Smoke can be enjoyed by many for its invocation of doom metal classics. But, independently of its “traditionalism”, BOG WIZARD stands out for its variety of musical textures and fantasy narratives that, as I previously mentioned, immerse the listener in a world attainable only through music.