Wizard Tattoo – Fables of the Damned

Wizard Tattoo – Fables of the Damned
Release Date: 23/06/23
Running Time: 39:59
Review by Paul Hutchings

So, Wizard Tattoo is in essence, the story of a man who gets a tattoo of a wizard and slowly loses his mind. Okay. I’ve seen worse concepts in my many years, but this suggests that there might have been the odd hallucinogenic involved in the creation of this project. Regardless of the ropey concept, it’s the music that counts right?

Having released the debut self-titled EP, “Fables of the Damned” continues the journey and it’s a good listen. It’s not polished, it’s not magnificently mixed, and it certainly has some rough edges. But as the creation of one person, namely the mysterious Bram the Bard who does everything here, it’s certainly a listen that is worth the 40 minutes on offer. 

Flourishes of psychedelia, large servings of stoner and groove as well as more avant-garde styles are all thrown into the smouldering cauldron. There are elements of doom, a smattering of classic rock and some alternative vibes as well – all glued together around the strange and mysterious themes. 

It kicks off with the fuzzed-up sprawl of ‘Wizard Van’, which immediately grabs the attention. It’s a brutalised hybrid of The Brothers Osborne and The Groundhogs, with echoing vocals that just rise about the trippy riffs and driving drums. Pushing the pace, it’s the ideal opening to the album and gets the foot tapping. It’s followed by the ominous doom soaked ‘The Black Mountain Pass’, a thunderous squally track that slows mid-song, only to pick back up in fine style. 

Riffs are very much the order of the day here, and nowhere is there a better example than on ‘The Vengeful Thulsa Dan’, which is a sludgy beast dominated by growling, sinister vocals. It’s balanced by the almost Western vibes of ‘Any Which Way but Turned’, a melancholic four and a half minutes which sees acoustic guitar take centre stage. It doesn’t take long to return to the sludgy doom though, with the lumbering ‘The Ghost of Doctor Beast’ slowly crawling into sight. Dark, sinister, with an underlying malevolence, it’s almost cinematic in its quality. 

The final two songs are completely different. The almost contemporary intro to ‘God Damn This Wizard Tattoo’ finds you infected by the groove that follows. It’s more Electric Six than demonic, but it gets inside the head quickly and you’ll be rocking along within minutes. This leaves the folk-infused ‘Abendrote’, a splendid instrumental over six-minutes in length and a fine way to finish the album. Featuring subtle programming that brings strings and flute into action, it is a curveball of a song which ends with more thick riffing guitar, but also one that works in the overall context of the album. 

Plenty to get stuck into, and although it is catchy enough on first play, it is the subsequent ones that really allow this album to get firmly stuck in the head. 

01. Wizard Van
02. The Black Mountain Pass
03. The Vengeful Thulsa Dan
04. Any Which Way but Turned
05. The Ghost of Dr Beast
06. God Damn this Wizard Tattoo
07. Abendrote


Bram the Bard – Everything


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