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Dopethrone
Dopethrone
Studio album by Electric Wizard
Released September 25 2000[1]
Recorded May - June 2000 at Chuckalumba Studios in Dorset, England
Genre Doom Metal, Psychedelic Rock, Black Metal
Length 71:09 (Original)
74:53 (Reissue)
Producer Rolf Startin
Electric Wizard chronology
Supercoven
(1998)
Dopethrone
(2000[1])
Let Us Prey
(2002)
Dopethrone is the third studio album by the Dorset, England doom metal band Electric Wizard. Recorded in early 2000 after a myriad of health and legal issues, Dopethrone would attain widespread critical acclaim at the time for it's sheer heaviness and a further turning point in the band's sound. Several fans and critics still cite the album as their magnum opus.

BackgroundEdit

In the timespan between the release of the critically acclaimed Come My Fanatics... (1997) and the release of Dopethrone the band suffered numerous injuries, setbacks and legal issues. Jus Oborn suffering a collapsed eardrum during a concert, setting a car on fire and later severing a fingertip while laying a carpet.[2] Mark Greening broke his collarbone in a motorcycle accident and assaulted a police officer. Lastly Tim Bagshaw injured his arm trying to steal a crucifix off the roof of a church along with getting arrested for breaking into a liquor store to steal whiskey.[3] Speaking to Kerrang! in July 2009, Jus Oborn remembered the days of the recording and their antics:

"At the time, we were pretty bad people. I got arrested for arson of a car, outside a police station. Tim [Bagshaw] went to nick a crucifix off a church roof so we could use it onstage, then slipped, fell off through the window and sliced his arm open. He got community service for that. Then Mark [Greening] got nicked for robbing an offie. He smashed the window, nicked a bottle of whiskey, then sat there drinking it outside! We weren't very nice people, to be honest. We were feeding off that shit at the time. It made us feel like we were more of a heavy metal band."
 
— Jus Oborn, Kerrang[4]

The band would record with Rolf Startin at Chuckalumba Studios in Dorset, England. The band entered the studio in sporadic bursts over several months rather than composing the entire album in one lengthy session, feeling there was no "chart album" being made and thus no rush. According to Oborn Lee Dorrian and label Rise Above Records were pressuring the band to make a new album following the success of Come My Fanatics. The band was also drawing inspiration from Lovecraft, Weird Tales, vintage horror films, Pink Floyd videos (In particular the way they set up their microphones.) and from Ozzy Osbourne, attempting to create an album that served as an antithesis to how he would be "going about how much he fucking loved everyone, so we thought it would be great to go and do the opposite."[5] Tentative titles leading up to the album when it was initially announced included "Lucifer's Children", "She Was Cruel", "We Have Contact" and "Theme From Assmaster".[6]

In an interview via Roadburn and Walter Hoeijmakers, Jus Oborn would elaborate his motivation on writing the album:

"I was trying to play Conan-style riffs while making Dopethrone, cause Conan wouldn’t try to play to complicated. It did it real simple, and beat the riffs out. The simple, brutal things, that’s what hit me hard. Weak shit move aside. Hollywood-movies are weak shit --it’s crap, it’s commercial. That’s why I recommend people to see The Livin’ Death at Manchester Morgue --a Spanish movie, filmed in England. It’s atmospheric and brutally gory. And it shows the British country side as well. Mark of The Devil is one of my favourites --although I think a lot people will find it very harsh. It’s so brutal and gory and its very hard to find.

Try to find the Awful Doctor Olof by Jess Franco. Its black and white, but it’s full of atmosphere, and cool cam work which makes it very dark and moody. I also recommend all Roger Corman movies with Vincent Price in. Even he’s an American, Corman inspired that whole Italian and Spanish horror-movement. I would go for directors --anything from Jess Franco, George Groud, Gene Rollins, Roger Corman. I really like Jess Franco. For some people he’s the worst Horror-director ever. The guy made his films with about 2% of the budget of an average Hollywood movie. The actors were all sleazy, and he still managed to come up with films that were more exciting and visionary interesting than those movies made in Hollywood. I once want to make a movie. It’s a dream. Electric Wizard will once make a film instead of an album and people will be running from the cinema, I hope.

We‘re into books and writers as well, especially a magazine like Weird Tales which came out in the 30’s. The whole scene of writers then, was the same as the underground music scene now. It was people who wrote real horrific stories and sent them to each other --like trading. And those stories ended up in fanzines and magazines like Weird Tales. That’s where H.P. Lovecraft started, and Robbie Howard who wrote the Conan story, Clarke Ashton Smith, and all writers like that.. That early horror scene is equivalent to todays doom-scene. A lot of bands are influenced by H.P. Lovecraft. His writing is real hallucinatory. You can read a story by him and start losing your mind while reading it --it’s a similar effect that you can have with music, like listening to Electric Wizard. And I hope that people understand it, understand what we’re trying to do. It’s all about the feelin’ of losing yourself. It’s about the way to get into that kinda state -with our without the use of drugs. If you don’t need drugs to get into a mind altering stage, that’s cool. I have to smoke pot to get there.

(On musical influences) When I was younger, I was really into death metal. I still listen to Possessed, Celtic Frost and Autopsy. The early Death-metal scene was brilliant, each band tried to do their own thing, and each band was so separated in different parts of the world --just making their own music that was so extreme. I love the spirit of that, and you’ll find that same spirit in todays Doom-scene. When you define a scene it will turn out to be shit. You get different kind of styles, and everybody will try to copy each other or at least a certain style. Then you’ll get people like: "Oh yeah, that’s the Fu Manchu-style" or "that sounds exactly like Kyuss." Then it’s all over, I think. I hope that we’re a different kind of band, and gladly I met people who are trying to be individuals as well, like WarHorse or Goatsnake. We come from the same background, have the same interest in life, aims, and we’re all making our own music. We’re all associated by what we inspired to rather than what we sound like. And that’s what is all about."

 
— Jus Oborn, Roadburn[7]

Dopethrone would be originally released on 25 September 2000 in Europe via Rise Above Records and in 16 January 2001 via The Music Cartel in The United States[8] and JVC Victor in Japan (16 December 2000, with a bonus track.). Allegedly the album was released with two different artworks but almost every issue of the album has opted for the devil art. The album also featured several samples throughout the record, including a sound clip from 20/20 in which two adults can be heard talking about whether or not a parent should take action if their child is being negatively influenced by heavy metal music by becoming depressed and joining satanic cults. A portion of the sample is played before album opener "Vinum Sabbathi" and then after the album is finished, following some silence. A sample from the 1982 film Conan The Barbarian precedes Barbarian. Samples from the 1970 horror film Mark of The Devil precede "I, The Witchfinder" and comprise the laugh that plays out during "Dopethrone". Lastly a sample from the 1970 film The Dunwich Horror precedes "We Hate You".

Electric Wizard would try to tour in 2000 to support it but the tour would largely be canceled. However the band would quickly bounce back with frequent touring in 2001, including the band's first ever tours of North America. The album would feature the infamous "Legalize Drugs and Murder" statement, which spawned a song and EP of the same name in 2012.

At the time of release Dopethrone managed to attain widespread critical acclaim from a series of underground publications. Roadburn Zine would open their review citing it as one of the best records they've ever heard at the time. Rob Wrong, writing for Stonerrock.com, would praise it as their finest release, stating that "Vinum Sabbathi" sets the tone for "tuned down sludge riffs just kind of put you in a trance". Ruthless Reviews gave a perfect 10/10 score, stating that Dopethrone is "better than whatever you're listening to right now." and that it "practically invents a new genre of music."[9] Lastly, a user by the name of "testtube" writing for I-Mockery.com would praise it as "The best fucking album in the universe!" though this user felt the album was more rock than metal. Nonetheless Dopethrone was given a perfect 10/10 score.[10] Other early reviewers of Dopethone included Marksound E-Zine, Ear Pollution, Bully Magazine, From Grace & Fury, Music Street Journal,[11] Culture Magazine, Spectator Online, Midwest Metal Magazine, Ink19 Magazine, Pulse Zine,[12] Www.doom-metal.com[13] and AllMusic[14] just to name a few.

Retroactively the album has only attained further praise, many of whom citing the album as Electric Wizard's magnum opus. The Obelisk would cite the album as "an immediate go-to association for those moments when you most want to say fuck everyone and everything and drop completely out of society."[15] Doodlehound would write an anniversary tribute, noting Dopethrone as an influential record in getting into doom, the Celtic Frost and death/black metal influences and lastly stating that "nothing about this album feels remotely human. It feels larger than life, almost as if the Old Ones themselves crafted it and put it to tape.".[16] Metal Reviews would give it a 94/100 score[17] while Decade Magazine awarded the album a 9/10 in a revisit of the album.[18] Lastly Metal Injection would offer a retrospective on the album in 2018, highly praising the record.[19] Dopethrone would be inducted into Decibel Magazine's Hall of Fame in 2007[20] and be awarded the best metal album of the 2000s by Terrorizer Magazine.

In 2004 Dopethrone would be released on vinyl for the first time, featuring the bonus track "Mind Transferral". In 2006 the album would be re-issued on digipak and remastered, along with the two albums that preceded and came after it. Since it's release on vinyl, Dopethrone has been issued in the following editions:

  • 2004 - Black Vinyl (500 copies)
  • 2004 - White Vinyl (1000 copies)
  • 2007 - Black Vinyl (550 copies)
  • 2007 - Transparent Amber Vinyl (100 copies)
  • 2007 - Clear Vinyl (100 copies)
  • 2007 - Purple Silk Vinyl (50 copies)
  • 2010 - Black Vinyl (2000 copies)
  • 2011 - Green Vinyl (800 copies)
  • 2014 - Black Vinyl (Unknown Limited Amount)
  • 2015 - Black Vinyl (Unknown Limited Amount)
  • 2015 - Crystal Clear Vinyl (100 copies)
  • 2015 - Purple/Gold Vinyl (500 copies)
  • 2015 - Purple Vinyl (1000 copies, United States Exclusive)
  • 2015 - White Marbled Vinyl (Unknown Limited Amount)
  • 2015 - Green Marbled Vinyl (Unknown Limited Amount)
  • 2015 - Pink Marbled Vinyl (1000 copies)
  • 2016 - Blue/Clear/Black Translucent Swirl (260 copies, Newbury Comics Exclusive)
  • 2019 - Gold Sparkle Vinyl (Unknown Limited Amount, Rise Above 30th Anniversary)
  • 2020 - Black with Gold Sparkle Vinyl (1000 copies)

In 2011 Louder Sound would interview Jus Oborn for a feature entitled The Story Behind Dopethrone, going into the writing and recording process of the album.[21] On 22 June 2016 CVLT Nation would get word of previously unreleased VHS footage of the band recording the album.[22]

TracklistEdit

All songs written by Jus Oborn and Tim Bagshaw.
Track nine is only on the Japanese edition and the re-issues.

  • 1. Vinum Sabbathi (3:05)
  • 2. Funeralopolis (8:43)
  • 3. Weird Tales i) Electric Frost ii) Golgotha iii) Altar of Melektaus (15:05)
  • 4. Barbarian (6:29)
  • 5. I, The Witchfinder (a.k.a. "Las Torturas de la Inquisicion") (11:04)
  • 6. The Hills Have Eyes (0:46)
  • 7. We Hate You (5:08)
  • 8. Dopethrone (20:48) (10:55 on re-issues.)
  • 9. Mind Transferral (14:56)

PersonnelEdit

Electric Wizard - Dopethrone full album

Electric Wizard - Dopethrone full album

  • Jus Oborn - Guitar, Effects, Artwork, Vocals
  • Tim Bagshaw - Bass, Effects, Artwork
  • Mark Greening - Drums, Concussions
  • Rolf Startin - Engineer, Mixing, Producer
  • John Stephens - Assistant Engineer
  • Doug Shearer - Mastering
  • Hugh Gilmour - Artwork, Design, Photography

External LinksEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Rise Above Records via Wayback Machine
  2. Electric Wizard via Wayback Machine
  3. Electric Wizard Official via Wayback Machine
  4. Ruskell, Nick. Kerrang! #1269, July 2009. Treasure Chest. An Intimate Portrait Of Life In Rock. Jus Oborn, p.60 accessed 22 June 2020
  5. Louder Sound
  6. Electric Wizard Official via Wayback Machine
  7. Electric Wizard Official via Wayback MachineRoadburn Interview accessed 22 June 2020
  8. The Music Cartel via Wayback Machine
  9. Electric Wizard via Wayback Machine
  10. I-Mockery.com via Wayback Machine
  11. Music Street Journal
  12. Electric Wizard via Wayback Machine
  13. Doom-Metal.com via Wayback Machine
  14. AllMusic
  15. The Obelisk
  16. Doodlehound
  17. Metal Reviews
  18. Decade Magazine
  19. Metal Injection
  20. Decibel Magazine
  21. Louder Sound
  22. CVLT Nation via Gear Gods
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