It seems everyone these days is wearing a black hood, pulled down low so you can’t see the faces. Well, maybe not you (though with a face like yours, you should think about it). No, I’m talking about metal bands who want to add a sense of menace and mystery to their personas, in keeping with the menace and mystery of their music, or perhaps as a way of underscoring the message that “it’s not about us, it’s about the music — and if you didn’t notice, we don’t use names either.”
The Australian rebel wizard NKSV who has adopted the name Rebel Wizard doesn’t wear a hood. He obscures his face with the kind of hat Gandalf wore, pulled down low, brandishing a guitar instead of a wand. He’s also drunk on the wizdom of unicorn semen.
Something other than hooded-ness is obviously going on here, something other than the more typical effort to summon impressions of occult forces at work and to channel torments and terrors through whirring strings and sepulchral voices. It’s almost as if Rebel Wizard is just having fun — how dare he! — and maybe acting the part of a provocateur in the process.
There’s still a sense of mystery about this project, which released a demo and six EPs before really taking off with 2016’s triumphant debut album, Triumph of Gloom. Not everything is spelled out — you’ll have to divine for yourselves the meaning of a song title like “Drunk on the Wizdom of Unicorn Semen” (though in a few paragraphs we’ll give you some clues), or the name of the new album that includes it, Voluptuous Worship of Rapture and Response.
Perhaps not even NKSV (who is also the man behind the long-running Nekrasov) could explain everything even if he chose to, but he has disclosed (in an extensive interview we’ll be bringing you early next week) that Rebel Wizard is for him a very personal thing, something he needs to do for himself, making music in which “there is no conscious choice at all,” in which the music “comes out as natural as possible”:
“There’s, of course, plenty of references here and there but no one sole direction of it being such-and-such a sound/ style or even idea. It’s to be free of all of those things and let it all bukkake itself out as it does, using a lifetime of things that had a great power over me during this time on this material earth, absurdity but freeing it from concept and intention.”
You could randomly pick any song on Voluptuous Worship… and feel that sensation of all constraints being cast to the winds, that feeling of giving free reign to musical ideas (and to a style of vocals that’s likely to provoke discomfort in some, or many) that have been stored away and morphing over decades of time, and now allowed to come out in a flood as they will, rather than consciously guided through channels and sluice gates. That feeling certainly runs strong through “Drunk on the Wizdom of Unicorn Semen.”
I go back and forth between which song on the album is my own favorite. At least half the time, this is the one. Probably it’s because of the beautifully mystical guitar picking (mixed with a foreshadowing squall and whine, and a burst of blizzard-like fretwork) which begins the song. Drawn in by those opening layered reverberations, you don’t realize that a grenade has already been tossed at your feet with the pin pulled, the seconds ticking down as you’re becoming beguiled by the opening.
And then the grenade goes off… and off you go into the sky, all the bits and pieces of you scattered in the blast, what’s left of your face grinning widely. It’s such a wild, blazing rush of electrifying riffs, magical soloing, and physically compulsive rhythms, combined with the merciless assault of cathartic vocal extremity.
I promised some clues, such as they are, about what lies behind the title of the song. These words are from NKSV, who comments about the music as well:
“The knowledge of all things is found after drinking 75 liters of unicorn semen. Then you will know everything. Everything. But what of it? Then what? You would most probably be an annoying buffoon. I most certainly will find you repulsive. Everyone will. Those who find you interesting should be melted. It’s a great song for high kicks and really should be played whilst roller skating or segwaying off a unicorn. Large epic thighs around your head. It’s the theme song for life right now.”
Let’s see now… what am I forgetting?
Oh yes! We have a video for you! A video made for this song, one that appeals to me because the old-growth forest that provides the main setting reminds me of those which are not far away from where I dwell in the Pacific Northwest corner of the U.S. We have some words about the video to share as well:
“Shot within the Wizard’s home of Sherbrooke Forest. We catch a rare glimpse of the Wizard drunk off his astrals on Unicorn semen during one of his daily rambles. Filmed by high priest video alchemist DLA-ALM. Watch the wretched negative metal Shaman waste his time off his chops on thy unicorn’s majestical mayonnaise because what the fuck else you going to do? Praise be to the Mountain Ash!”
And, with that, we’ll leave you to the sights and sounds of this video we’re very happy to premiere. Voluptuous Worship of Rapture and Response will be released by Prosthetic Records on August 17, 2018.
1. Persisting as it does
2. The prophecy came and it was soaked with the common fools forboding
3. High mastery of the woeful arts
4. Drunk on the wizdom of unicorn semen
5. The poor and ridiculous alchemy of Christ and Lucifer and us all
6. Mother Nature, oh my sweet mistress, showed me the other worlds and it was just fallacy
7. Majestic mystical burdens
8. Healing the chakras with heavy negative wizard metal
9. Voluptuous worship of rapture and response