Album Review: Hazemaze – Blinded By The Wicked

Album Review: Hazemaze - Blinded By The Wicked
Reviewed by Paul Hutchings

Another band to drag their fuzzed-up carcasses from Sweden, which must be overrun by stoner doom bands, Hazemaze earned a lot of praise with their 2019 sophomore release ‘Hymns of the Damned’. They now return with another 40 minutes of gargantuan riffage and down-tuning which will no doubt stir those fans who have been waiting patiently.

There’s little to disguise these guys and their huge sound. It’s uncompromising slab heavy doom with essence of stoner and sludge thrown in for good measure. The opening track ‘In the Night of the Light, For the Dark’ is the perfect opener, upbeat and with a vibrancy that isn’t as apparent as the album progresses. The pace slows but the heaviness increases on ‘Devil’s Spawn’, a lumbering beast of a track that blends thick, sludge covered guitar with some excellent Hammond organ. It’s a bit like Green Lung played on a slower speed.

Hazemaze’s focus remains entirely locked on the seventies and who can blame them? The Sabbathesque blasts that ride through ‘Ethereal Disillusion’ reveal their influences but that’s a good thing; you can’t have enough Sabbath in my book. ‘Ethereal Disillusion’ maintains a groove that is enough to get the head nodding. It’s followed by a gentle two-minute instrumental in ‘Sectatores in Principes’ that is dreamy enough to slowly trip away to.

Album Review: Hazemaze - Blinded By The Wicked

This is an album in which you can genuinely lose yourself. The sluggish pace on ‘Ceremonial Aspersion’ is by no means a criticism as the Hammond adds lush layers which enhance the band’s occult approach. There’s an underlying groove which brings even more to the table, such as penultimate track ‘Luciferian Rite’ which simply romps along. For a three piece, this is cracking stuff.

Combined with the classic doom vocals, ‘Blinded by the Wicked’ works on every level. The sound may not be original, but the contemporary feel genuinely enhances the overall appeal. Take a deeper dive into the themes of the album and experience the wild as the album takes a darker turn, exploring the world of cult leaders and their ability to corrupt their followers. Sound familiar in these dark days anyone?

Ultimately, this is a solid and pounding piece of music that sits very much in a genre that wants to break the stereotypes whilst retaining the elements that made them so good in the first place.

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