threEPack

As you may have surmised by today’s oh-so-clever title, today I will be reviewing three different wizard rock EPs, and let me briefly explain why first.  You see, it may be true that in the realm of wizard rock EPs by little-known bands, there is a lot, and I mean A LOT of chaff… hey, let’s not beat around the bush at all here and just say that there is a lot of shit.  But if you sift around, you will also find a lot of fun and replayable, if short and not exactly deep experiences that can be the frontier of innovation for wrock.  Think of them as the iPhone games to the yearly albums of The Whomping Willows and Ministry of Magic and the likes’ Triple-A console video games.  To put it more simply, they are what Angry Birds and the Cut The Rope are to your Generic Brown Shooters With Numbers Attached To Their Titles. So, I figured in between sessions of railing at Things That People Like, I might really put on my Snob Pyjamas and talk about Things That I Like That No One Has Ever Heard Of.  So, without further ado, my reviews of Crabbe and the Goyles’ Wizcore EP, Mulciber Zerstörer’s Death From Above, and The Veelas’ Hogwarts Lullabies.

[The above paragraph was written on April 6th, 2011, including the line break.  The Goyles’ album and The Veelas’ album were both pretty new back then, and the MZ album was only about a year stale.  None of these bands produced another album, and in fact, as of time of writing, each one produced only one more song – Crabbe and the Goyles’ made the delightful Ministry of Magic diss track “Down With The Ministry”, and MZ and The Veelas each produced a track for Jingle Spells 5.  Here are a few brief thoughts looking back on these three EPs. Also, really, past me? Doing the British spelling of pajamas just so you can pretend you’re cool? God I’m such a tool.]

Crabbe and the Goyles is the complete rebranding of The Hufflepuffs!, and the 20% increase in swag gained by switching to the green and silver has made their music infinitely more listenable.  The Hufflepuffs! eponymous debut album was actually pretty damn boring, with a couple interesting melodies and lyrics here and there, smothered in a sea of Garageband loops.  The Wizcore EP, however, is pretty damn fun, and held some promising things in the band’s future, of which there turned out to not be any. While, truth be told, the crunk/house vibe is competently met at best, there’s so little of wizard rock that sounds like this, it ends up sounding very fresh and fun, with a bit of a bite to it.  The singer could use a bit more edge to his voice, a bit more swagger, but this would have come with practice and continued recordings.  The lyrics are evil and fun, exactly what you’d hope from a Slytherin band.

Also, he rhymes “wizard rocker” with “Melenbacher” in response to some tweet I made like two years ago, so toadying points right there.  The best song is “My Basilisk”, with a really fun and raw chorus, with some great death metal vocals to back it up.  Any song with a heavy amount of those on the album is gonna be a great song.  Same with “Slytherin Cheer”, which could have been a really fucking fun song live with a responsive crowd.  “Fuck You (Harry Potter)”, while lyrically clever in its filking, is the weakest song on the album, and really just sounds out of place.  Still, this album presents an impressive musical evolution, and is a damn fine (AND FREE!) EP in its own right.  And seriously, “My Basilisk” is just fucking swag as all hell.

Mulciber Zerstörer’s Death From Above is an album that just kind of quietly dropped with no fanfare at all, and is one of those albums I randomly decided to take a chance on, and was pleasantly surprised.  It’s metal, and while I am no real metal aficionado, to my virgin ears, it sounds really metally with death metal vocals up the wing-wong, strident guitars, fast drum fills, and an overall sense of power to the music, which is perfect for a Death Eater album.  It does all sound kind of samey, and the album comes off as less of an 11 song album, and more a Rush-style epic Side B track with a few random pauses thrown in.  Except it doesn’t sound like Rush at all.  Fortunately, the total length of the album is 15 minutes, so it doesn’t overstay its welcome, and this excuses much of the sameyness, which again, really isn’t a bad thing here – it keeps the album feeling consistent, it never drags, and there’s enough change-up in songs like “Inferi Undead Army” and “If We Won…” (which has a really epic guitar solo in it that should NOT be missed) to keep things interesting.  Also, the lyrics are really kind of hard to hear, but they are definitely there, and one gets the sense that if one put in the time to try and decipher them from the tortured vocals, there’d be some substance there.  This is another free EP, it’s only 15 minutes long, and if you sometimes get tired of acoustic guitar wizard rock, it is DEFINITELY worth your one episode of Adventure Time’s-worth.

The Veelas’ Hogwarts Lullabies is a surprising rarity in wizard rock – a family album, in that it was made by a family, a mom and her three children, all of which have some part in the album.  It also has a surprising amount of variety in the sonic offerings: it starts off with a bilingual rap about how Ginny needs to check her privilege and get the fuck off of Fleur’s back, it’s got uke, it’s got a xylophone song about camping, and “Free” has some beautiful sonic texturing and is GUARANTEED to hit you in the feels.  Think “Evanesco Dobby”, if that song made any goddamn sense and had genuine emotion inside of it instead of just a catchy-ass chorus and nothing else of substance.  The lyrics in “Phlegm” are really quite good, with a fun, almost Blibbering Humdinger’s-esque stream of “-ation” rhymes.  There’s also “Krumione”, a song about a pairing often overlooked in wizard rock, except maybe as a throw-away line in a Ron/Hermione song.  All the songs are fun, and have the feeling of inviting some friends into your living room and they and their cute kids play you a few songs about wizards in thanks for inviting them over and serving them apple strudel. Their cover of “This Book Is So Awesome”, also known as “The Most Covered Song In All Of Wizard Rock” isn’t the best ever made, but it’s fun and whimsical and the laughter at the end is absolutely precious.  You can tell that this album was made by a family, and they had a lot of fun doing it.

You should also check out this adorable video of the family performing “World’s Worst Camping Trip” in their home, as well as this random video with THE MOST INTENSE STARE I HAVE EVER WITNESSED that I found whilst searching youtube for “worst camping trip ever”.

Also, you know, consider actually downloading these free or cheap albums and supporting indie wrock. Just sayin’.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. russbenoit
    Jun 12, 2013 @ 18:12:55

    That Mulciber Zerstorer EP is pretty cool.

    Reply

  2. Trackback: Jingle Spells 5 – A Retrospective | The Wrock Snob

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