Local Review: Moon Wizard – Sirens

Local Music Reviews

Moon Wizard

Street: 01.31
Moon Wizard = Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats + The Sword + All Them Witches

Sirens, the third studio album from Salt Lake City-based desert metal band Moon Wizard, fucking rules. Filled with killer energy, filthy riffs and triumphant, anthemic vocals, this album makes me want to run through a brick wall. 

The album opens with “Meteor,” a perfect introduction to what this project is trying to communicate. Unsurprisingly, the track is filled with burning hot, somber energy, almost as if  the band is trying to feel anything, hoping to experience any sort of strong emotion in spite of the coming apocalypse. In a less conceptual sense, the band is in excellent form right from the start on “Meteor.” The excellent vocals of Sami Wolf are backed up by an incredibly rock-solid rhythm section and great guitar work, a dynamic that proves to be true for the rest of the runtime.

The next song, “Mothership,” definitely leans more into the stoner aspect of the album, with its slower pace and more hypnotic instrumentation. It’s not as bombastic and inspiring as the opener, but I love the way it contrasts with “Meteor.”  

Overall, I think the album would definitely benefit from more contrast. I adore a lot of the heaviness this album brings, and I will be the first person to admit that it’s unrealistic to think every album needs to cater to every mood—or even more than one mood—but I’d love to see what Moon Wizard does when they cut the distortion and take their foot off the gas pedal.

For all the dirt, grit and heaviness present in Sirens, the project is not lacking in nuance. Like watching the way rubber melts and changes in a tire fire, there are so many little moments here that really give the project a certain stickiness. I feel like I’m going to be thinking about this album for quite a while after the initial memory of it fades.

Some examples of details like that are the subtle vocal harmonies and the choral outro on “Desert Procession,” or the way the tone of the guitar shifts and lets the bassline reveal itself on the back half of “Luminaire.” Details like this are present on pretty much every record that’s worth listening to and talking about, but the way Sirens uses nuance and slight variations in tone and timbre to add intrigue to its simple riffs and hooks really stood out to me. 

The guitar solos are also excellent; they add even more variety and depth to the album’s song structure. My favorite solo is from the sixth track, “Crestfallen.” Even though it takes up close to half of the song’s total runtime, it never feels like it’s overstaying its welcome. It strikes the perfect balance of having just enough variation and evolution to be interesting and engaging, but it doesn’t go so far as to devolve into structureless self-flattery that serves no musical purpose.

Sirens, with its overabundance of distorted riffs and shining solos, is an album that makes me miss the desert. Listening to this album makes me want to get a gnarly sunburn while exploring a ghost town, or just go get sand in my shoes. I’d be fine with either one. – Lillith Pernichele

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