With a CD pressing limited, I presume, to however many the band felt like spraypainting, Wizard Fight make their debut on the new The Beast Lives Demo. The Hastings, UK-based trio recorded the three tracks live on March 11 and initially put them on a cassette, but the CD followed not far behind as they’ve begun to play more shows, discs spraypainted green with stenciled pink logos as above in a sleeve with photocopied artwork — a bit of a classic touch to go with the band’s heavy-footed sludge stomp.
The three tracks themselves keep the formula pretty simple. Riffs, screams and growls, a few tempo changes and a consistent level of aggression keep The Beast Lives Demo well within the realm of the straightforward, and the trio — guitarist/vocalist Luke Bolton (Rise of the Simians), bassist Dave Sage and drummer Daniel Kinsey (ex-Steak) — seem just fine with that. Across “The Devil Rides,” “Wizard of Black” and “Thine Enemies,” the three-piece settle into a solid groove that ebbs and flows while also keeping a strong sense of momentum moving within and between the songs.
Frills are slim to none — a sample at the beginning of “The Devil Rides” — but especially for a first demo recorded live, that winds up being part of the appeal, and though it’s abundantly clear throughout all three of the tracks at Wizard Fight are getting their bearings in terms of writing songs as a unit, their sense of structure works well on “Wizard of Black” as they move fluidly from the chorus to the instrumental ending, wherein they lock in the demo’s best groove as a precursor to the burly riffing that takes hold on “Thine Enemies,” closing out with a semi-metallic chorus that Bolton tops in post-Superjoint Ritual fashion.
They’ve got some work ahead of them, but considering The Beast Lives is as rudimentary as a release can get — a live demo — Wizard Fight sound tight and like they have a good idea of where they want to be in terms of sound. I wouldn’t ask anything more of a release like The Beast Lives than that, and hopefully it sets the band up for something to grow on the next time out. Until then, in true demo spirit, they’ve made the songs available as a free download: