Channeling a sound spawned from the rugged terrain and mountainous landscapes of the Montana wilderness they call home, Kalispell’s Wizzerd deliver a monumental concept album that’s got the kind of sound you’d expect from a veteran outfit who’s long since mastered their sound. Minutes into ‘Doomchild’ and we’re thrust into a gripping journey through a fierce desert sandstorm, cosmic hallucinations, dense black forest, and a plethora of cataclysmic environments onerously constructed as an audible pilgrimage worthy of high acclaim.
We caught up with Wizzerd to get an inside look at the making of ‘Doomchild’; the epic tale of a young villager living on the outskirts of the desert, and we learn what’s next for one of doom metal’s most promising up-and-comers.
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‘Doomchild’ is an impressive debut album with a mature sound. Can you tell us what went into it and the story it tells?
“The album is a concept album, and this is the concept: The story is about this boy living in a village where he is unknown to the people of the area, which is located on the edge of a desert. Sandstorms continue to relentlessly plague the town while the boy is there. The boy was found as the cause of the storms and was exiled to the desert.
While there [in the desert], he wanders and wanders, having hallucinations of the beginning of the earth, the spirit of the desert and the sculptor of the universe. He falls in the sand one last time and fades out of consciousness. He awakens in a dense forest with no knowledge of how he got there, but he realizes he will bring something bad upon the woods. As he runs to find a way out of the forest it catches fire, and the entirety of the forest burns to the ground.
He then finds the edge of the forest which leads to the great ocean. In an attempt to escape the disasters in his path he swims and swims only to be enveloped in the stormy sea. However, before he dies he is brought to the sky to become the god of disaster.
Recording the album was a lengthy process which involved much experimentation and learning for all of us. Overall it took a year and a half between lots of recording sessions and mixing time, but the final product is something we’re very proud of.”
It’s a truly beautiful work. So, how did the 5 of you come together, start a band, and find your sound?
“We have all been friends since high school, and have made a few musical projects together. We all started listening to Doom metal bands like Elder and Sleep, wrote a few songs, and thus Wizzerd was born. We wrote the songs for Doomchild, plus a couple others and eventually met up with Wayne at a show underneath our local record store. He brought over some studio equipment, and through the process of making the album became a member of the band and started adding his analog synthesizers to the live mix.
As far as musical influences go, we draw as heavily from the classic psychedelic bands (Cream, Sabbath, Tull) as we do from modern masters of metal (Electric Wizard, Uncle Acid, The Sword).”
And what’s the story behind the name of your band, “Wizzerd”?
“After a few name changes and before we fully embraced the Doom, we were all taking a trip somewhere and at about three in the morning one of us just said, “Hey what if we were called ‘Wizard’, but with an ‘e’. ‘Wizerd’.” We all agreed in silence. The second Z was added later.”
I dig it. You guys are from Kalispell, Montana, and I would guess it’s not the first place many would think of when it comes to psychedelic doom metal. How does your hometown influence your music and how do you channel this into your sound?
“We were recently featured in a review that started out ranting about how many ‘ten commandments’ signs are in this valley [Flathead Valley], and it doesn’t exaggerate when it says they are every half mile. We’ve always gone against that grain, singing about weed and Satan. However, the mountainous terrain that surrounds us does bring a certain amount of epic heaviness to the table for us musically.”
What did you guys do to celebrate the official release of ‘Doomchild’? Anything special?
“We kicked off the release of the album with a show in Missoula that also acted as a kickoff to a small Northwest tour we did to support the album release with our good buds in Swamp Ritual from Missoula. It was an amazing time!”
Where can we snag this album and some of your merch, and what’s the best way for new fans to keep up with you guys?
“All of our merchandise including CDs will be uploaded and available on Bandcamp (Official Wizzerd Bandcamp) soon. We are currently in the process of setting it up to use as our web store. The best way to keep up with us is by following us on Facebook (Official Wizzerd Facebook).”
Are there any plans to tour nationwide? We’d love to have you come to the Mile High City and put on a show, is this a possibility?
“We are in the process of setting up a tour of the western United States to hopefully go down in June (2017), and Denver is one of the spots on our list!”
It might be a little premature to ask, but what’s next for Wizzerd? Are there plans to return to the studio any time soon? Is there any new music being talked about or written currently?
“For future plans, our second album is completely written, with the recording process set for next month. We are also working on storyboarding for some written work about the concept for that one. We’ve got a couple more albums mapped out, with a few songs written for each. Between all of that and a much larger tour, we’ve got a very busy life ahead of us.”
Stream Doomchild by Wizzerd on Bandcamp: