Sophisticate’s Choice


Electric Wizard, Grand Magus, Bad Wizard—so many metal magicians, you almost can’t tell which is which. Bad Wizard’s the one with the strangest press, a blurb from The New Yorker linking them fondly to Molly Hatchet. It’s hard to know what’s more unbelievable—the recommendation to snob readers to go see this metal band at some urine-cured rock room, or the dropping of the name Molly Hatchet. (Just how stupid is someone who buys that a New Yorker staffer was jamming to “Flirtin’ With Disaster,” anyway? As dumb as the writer who thought Ripper Owens-edition Judas Priest was cool?)

Nevertheless, even busted clocks yearning for hipness are right twice a day, and so it can be said that Bad Wizard’s Sophisticated Mouth is good. It comes on like a hurricane, and even though the singer can’t sing, his rasp is pure home entertainment. And then at the halfway point, Fat Bobby from Oneida enters the fray. His keys are angry and Jon Lord-esque, keeping the guitars hard at work holding up their end of the proceedings.

The effect is New Wave of British Heavy Metal by rednecks from New York who should probably be drinking beer out on Raging Slab’s Pennsy farm. The last two songs are boogies, the ultimate being Uriah Heep’s “Love Machine.” And though I doubt the Bad Wizards were alive when it was first minted, they admirably fail to screw it up.

Bad Wizard play North Six December 17.