BLACK WIZARD – New Waste, New Label, New Sounds
August 2, 2016, a year ago
We're three songs in to New Waste—New Westminster, British Columbia's stoner/doomsters Black Wizard's third album—and “Laughing And Lost” has thrown everything for a loop. I mean, it was pretty easy going with this bunch before—sometimes rockin' stoner, sometimes heavier doom—but now we have, what? A '70s arena-rock ballad? As the third song on the album? Bold, to say the least.
“The label [Listenable Records] said the same,” says drummer Eugene Parkomenko. “They didn't want it third on the record, but we stuck with it. It was definitely a unique track for us and one of the funnest we have ever written and gotten to play. Such a treat working with dynamics and building up a tune like that. Our biggest influences in the world had the balls to do it on their first records, so why not? Plus, it's got a right heavy last couple minutes.”
Then there's “Eliminator”, another track showing off the band's strengths, and another track showing off some unexpected edges, this time a fun, '80s party-metal vibe. And if that song name is making you think of a certain bearded Texas trio, bingo.
““Eliminator” was written with our previous lead guitar player Kenny Cook, of Anciients,” says Parkomenko. “We are all ZZ Top nuts and for some reason that little intro lick just reminded us of late-night partying to [ZZ Top album] Eliminator. It wasn't really supposed to be the name for the track, but it was too late. You're spot on the '80s reference, too. We all grew up on it pretty hard.”
So what we're getting at is this band is slowly but surely finding an identity in a very overcrowded subgenre.
“When we started, it was kind of premeditated to play 'stoner rock/metal', whatever you call it,” says Parkomenko. “We all kind of outgrew that and now, at least in our minds, we are just a heavy metal band. We work our asses off, tour a ton, and write killer harmonized riffs... Hopefully it stands out on its own.”
Guitarist Danny Stokes is, well, stoked on the album (sorry). He's cryptic about the songwriting process, but is extremely pleased with the end result.
“Very happy about on how New Waste turned out,” says Stokes. “Without getting to into it, it was a hell of a time writing the record. We were definitely looking for something individually, whether we liked it or not. To have that sense of fuel that drives you in the rehearsal studio, and then to hear it back full force...”
(Photo by: Claude Herni)
The album is the band's first for Listenable, and Parkomenko says that so far the union is working out great, as the band looks ahead with the support of the label and their best material yet on New Waste.
“The Listenable guys came and saw us play at a tiny little place in Belgium two years ago,” explains Parkomenko. “It was a rippin', jam-packed, beer-soaked room, and I guess they liked what they saw. Next time we were in Europe they had a record deal for us. It's going great so far. They have opened so many doors we couldn't have on our own and have a very solid team of people working with us now.”