December 23, 2013

Black Wizard - Young Wisdom

Written by Matt Hinch.

Cover art by Dena Lazarenko

Remember that Anciients album (Heart of Oak) released earlier this year and the torrent of riffs found within? Well it turns out guitarist Kenneth Paul Cook has plenty more and you can hear them on Young Wisdom by KPC's other band, Black Wizard. But this isn't merely a KPC side project, it's a band. Vocalist Adam Grant, drummer Eugene Parkomenko (Hookers) and bassist Evan Joel complete the lineup of this quartet that fuses styles with ease.

Opener "Spacer" kicks things off with some heavy duty High on Fire worship (always a good thing) and segues into a groovy stoner rock bounce. Right from the get-go you can tell it's KPC, as the style of riffs and solos he employs in Anciients are carried over to Young Wisdom. It's actually pretty cool that he can play in two bands that don't sound all that similar but you can still tell it's him.

With the exception of ethereal ballad "Danger Dances", the album is all about that groove. Head-noddin' riffs cruise down a highway made of good times. Sometimes Black Wizard put the hammer down and let the throttle rip and at others they're content to just coast down the hillside and let the road take them where it will during extended instrumental sections.

Young Wisdom has a great energy, mostly heard in Grant's vocals. There's a confidence and charisma there that can't be learned. Through his delivery you can tell that his stage presence (and that of the whole band) is top notch.

One can hear, and this is no slight, shades of bands like Wolfmother and Priestess, but don't go throwing a hipster tag around here. Young Wisdom is more of an amalgam of classic metal, grunge and stoner rock with some progressive elements. It's got soul, swagger and a definite blues influence running through its veins. But an album like this boils down to the riffs. Catchy and plentiful riffs.

Young Wisdom is easy, breezy, maybe a little sleazy and best enjoyed with a few friends and a few brews. (Wanna come over and see for yourself?)

Get wise, friends.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

  1. That Anciients should have been right in my wheelhouse, but for whatever reason, I just couldn't get into it. This has potential, though. Is it just me, or does "Midnight" have some old Alice Cooper in it? (Like "School's Out" era.)

  2. There's all kinds of stuff going on in here!
    No diggy the Anciients eh? You might want to skip my Top 5 Canadian releases post then.