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Live: Electric Wizard

Quiet malice from Dorset’s premier purveyors of doom.

There’s a culture clash at the Webster Hall, a Victorian theatre in Manhattan’s East Village.

Florida pop punks Set It Off have attracted a youthful, largely female crowd to the downstairs room, who nervously share the lobby with the more grizzled audience here to bear witness to Dorset doomers Electric Wizard.

It’s the group’s first US tour for a decade, the show sold out months ago, the place is heaving, and – for a band renowned for turning the amps up way past 11 – it’s not loud enough. Instead of a malevolent level of noise it’s all a little meek, and with the brute force physicality removed it becomes a trippier, more cerebral experience.

The reaction is mixed: the girl on my left says she loves the sound because it allows her to zone out and think about something else altogether, while the guy on my right, overcome by bong and booze, collapses. As he’s dragged from the crowd, the band continue with a set that’s as fulsome as it is fearsome, even at reduced volume: Satanic Rites Of Drugula and Dopethrone drag along like demons on demerol as naked, blood-soaked wenches dance on the backdrop, while Incense For The Damned and Time To Die, well, they offer more of the same. It’s one dimensional, yes, but it’s a pretty good dimension to be in.

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Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 36 years in music industry, online for 23. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.