Rebel Wizard – Magickal Mystical Indifference Review

Rebel Wizard is a cool fucking band. And by band, the project remains the sole endeavor of Australian Bob Nekrasov. His Nekrasov project remains another underground act keeping the prolific individual busy. However, it’s Rebel Wizard that has captured my attention since stumbling across the Triumph in Gloom debut in 2016. Tapping into a beguiling mix of traditional metal, featuring galloping guitar harmonies and rocking riffs, laced with black metal and thrash influences, Rebel Wizard pull off the impressive balancing act between the accessible and the acidic, an extreme assault of the cleaner aesthetics of classic heavy metal. This would all amount to little if Nekrasov wasn’t an ace at writing and composing some killer material. As his previous two Rebel Wizard LPs have proven, regardless of over-the-top song titles and a tongue in cheek attitude, Rebel Wizard packs some serious chops in the writing and musicianship departments.

While musically, third album Magickal Mystical Indifference traverses familiar territory, an emotionally deeper, soulful element is apparent, adding a layer of depth that perhaps was not as prominent on previous releases. Like its predecessors, Magickal Mystical Indifference is a guitar album through and through. And Nekrasov remains an accomplished, underrated riff maestro with plenty of style and nimble-fingered skills. Thick, noisy distortion and a rotten-to-its-blackened-core vibe add layers of rawness and grit to some rather eloquent shredding and wickedly addictive riffs. The perhaps divisive and incomprehensible vocals lend increasingly refined production values a scalding, kvlt enriched coat of grime, landing the album squarely in extreme realms. Magickal Mystical Indifference retains the high levels of consistency and quality that has marked Rebel Wizard‘s previous works. Opening instrumental, the awesomely and ludicrously titled “heavy negative wizard metal in-fucking-excelsis,” is anything but a throwaway, boasting raucously infectious riffs and galloping trad metal energy, showcasing Nekrasov’s excellent guitar work and ear for melody. From here on it’s a largely consistent and frequently engaging affair.

Extra slices of sonic refinement have only served to strengthen and sharpen Rebel Wizard‘s attack, rather than diminishing the raw charms. Certain songs are propelled by straightforward structures and groove-laden hooks, such as “the mind is not your friend” and “white light of divine awe smelling of sweat and sex,” only to be skillfully offset by toxic vocals and thrilling shred embellishments. A couple of songs rip through the album’s melodic backbone like freshly cut flesh; raw, violent and bloody. Case in point, the wickedly aggro, hard-hitting “urination of vapidity on consciousness” ramps-up the intensity with an angry jolt. Elsewhere, the glorious, folk-tinged “dance of the duchess in the pale pink light” features inspired leads and majestic, triumphant melodies within a catchy framework. Another gem follows immediately, with “not rain but the wizards tears” offering an emotive, atmospheric and largely restrained example of Rebel Wizard‘s bag of tricks and adventurous writing repertoire.

Although the album’s numerous positives and high points far outweigh any gripes, there are drawbacks. Several songs drop below the higher standards of their stronger counterparts, and later album cut “love wisdom everything nothing,” is an ambient piece with female spoken word samples that halts momentum and breaks down the rippling bursts of consistent energy permeating the album. Meanwhile a couple of songs end rather abruptly… Some greater variation in the drumming department could have supplied welcome rhythmic flair to match the wonderful guitar work, perhaps a drawback of a one-man project. While these issues aren’t debilitating, they are enough of a collective hindrance to tarnish an otherwise well-crafted album.

Rebel Wizard is loads of fun to listen to, and in this regard, Magickal Mystical Indifference lives up to the quality standards I’ve come to expect from the project. I feel Nekrasov is on the cusp of unleashing a truly timeless album, but Magickal Mystical Indifference falls agonizingly short of greater honors, despite being a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining listen. Hopefully the talented and seemingly tweaked and quirky personality of its creator can elevate Rebel Wizard to truly elite levels when the next album rolls round.


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 136 kbps mp3
Label: Prosthetic Records
Website: rebelwizard.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/rebelwizard
Releases Worldwide: July 10th, 2020

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