WO FAT is:
Kent Stump: guitar, vox,
Tim Wilson: bass
Michael Walter: Baterie Mastodontica, harmony vox
Recorded and mixed by Kent Stump at Crystal Clear Sound, Dallas, Tejas.
Mastered by Nolan Brett at Crystal Clear Sound.
Album artwork, logo design and song titles typography art by Alexander Von Wieding, www.zeichentier.com.
All songs written by K. Stump, M. Walter, T. Wilson. © 2013.
Published by Small Stone Records (ASCAP)
Every once in a while a band comes along where their entire catalog is flawless and you don’t realize this until a few years pass by and several albums are under their belt. Wo Fat, from Dallas, Texas falls under this category for us as their newest and fifth album The Conjuring is another outstanding chapter for the band. If you’re a longtime fan; then you are proud of this release. If you’re a newcomer than look out, they will suck you into their world of psych-blues, stoner jams.
First off, this album seems to be more trippy and dense than their previous release The Black Code. The vocals are blended a bit more into the music creating this atmospheric stoner rock aura. We hear this right away with the opening track "The Conjuring" and this 9:51 minute song starts off in good ol’ Wo Fat style. The doom-riffs are sooo thick, as the song builds you’ll be eager to kick things off. The sludgy vocals of Kent Stump are layered perfectly among the massive wall of sound and are not overpowering nor under used as they are actually very trippy here. The rhythm on this song maintains this mid-tempo heavy groove that doesn’t let up one bit. That’s one formula Wo Fat uses very well, a very heavy rhythm that is somewhat hypnotic and becomes the foundation for their songs. "Read The Omens," track two is a bit faster, and man it just takes off. The subtle rhythmic changes are absolutely flawless; it seems to come natural to them. The breakdown at the 3:56 mark has a Clutch-like groove for a moment, then its right back to a steady-paced jam. This song out of nowhere just takes off on an even faster pace towards the end. This is only track two and we’re impressed as all hell. Can they keep this up? If you know Wo Fat, than yes you know they will.
The nightmarish spoken word opening on track three, "Pale Rider From the Ice" has us wondering where they are going, it’s great exploration. When the drums come into place, you know it’s going to epic. This track develops a classic stoner rock riff that lies underneath the wall of psyched-out guitars and bass. Moving onto the upbeat "Beggars Bargain," this one is buoyant and very catchy, especially with the cowbell. Again, this track just morphs into a steady jam that will leave you very satisfied. This brings us to the final track "Dreamwalker". This one is 17:10 minutes long with no gaps or filler crap that we often hear from other bands. Wo Fat do not pull this stunt, they are all business. The bassist really shines on this song, he holds a steady flow throughout, and it’s quite impressive. The music on this track is so thick and rich, its hypnotic heavy flow will somehow take control of your conscious without you knowing. The echoed vocals just add to the wonderment of the song and the changeups are flawless as usual. As the track progresses, it becomes more open and spacious and the bassist still hasn’t missed a beat from the beginning. It’s a terrific ending to another great Wo Fat album.
So, there you have it, what else can we say, it’s definitely a frontrunner for one of the top albums of 2014. While they haven’t reinvented stoner rock, they definitely put their own stamp on this genre and are becoming an influence to younger bands. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up as it will become a mainstay in your collection.
Standout Tracks: Read The Omens, Pale Rider From the Ice
Staff Rating: Crank this to 9 of 11 | Editor's Pick
Genre: Stoner rock
Sounds Like: Kyuss, Colour Haze, High on Fire
Wo Fat are a band from Texas that plays a very heavy form of stoner rock and this is a review of their 2014 album "The Conjuring" which will be released by Small Stone.
Distorted sounds and drones start off the album along with some powerful sounding bass guitars and spoken word samples which leads to the music going into a heavier direction which is very close to doom metal and the band also brings in some 70's style retro rock guitar leads and solos.
Once vocals are added in the music they are very melodic sounding blues rock style clean singing and you can hear a great amount of psychedelic sound effects being utilized in the background and all of the tracks a re very long and epic in length and there is also a brief use of slide guitars being brought into on of the tracks and they enhance the blues rock feeling of the recording and the last track is almost 20 minutes long and has the feeling of an improv jam at times.
Wo Fat create some very heavy riffs and jams with their own style of stoner rock/metal as well as adding a sound that takes the best of classic and retro rock but done in a more modern fashion as well as having the heaviness of doom metal, the production sounds very professional and powerful while the lyrics cover dark, metaphysical, occult and shamanism themes.
In my opinion Wo Fat are a very great sounding stoner rock band and if you are a fan of this musical genre, you should check out this recording.
RECOMMENDED TRACKS INCLUDE "The Conjuring" and "Beggar's bargain". 8 out of 10.
Five albums in and Texas act Wo Fat have made it crystal clear what their mission is, and that is to deliver big, fat mountains of swampy stoner riffs & grooves for any fan of heavy music. Don't be fooled by the fact that The Conjuring only contains five tunes, as these are all lengthy epics chock full of some of the most psychedelic, beefy riffs around. The title track packs all the punch of vintage Black Sabbath but with a spacey twist that wouldn't sound out of place on a Monster Magnet record, while "Read the Omens" hits hard with mean intent, monster fuzz riffs and wah-wah solos like a head on collision between ZZ Top & Down just piercing your jugular. If that ain't enough, how about the behemoth bass & guitar death march of "Pale Rider From the Ice", an undulating, throbbing slice of lethal fuzz that just grabs your entire body, takes hold of it, and smashes it into oblivion with slow, ponderous strikes. It's a 7-minute ride you won't soon forget. Oh wait, there's more! How about the upbeat, Southern fried raunchy blues-metal of "Beggar's Bargain", or the closing 17-minute cavalcade of fuzzy wah-wah inflected riff-o-rama that is "Dreamwalker"? Sounds like a fun batch of stoner rock doesn't it? Well, it sure as hell is. Wo Fat are quickly building a name for themselves on the scene, and this latest release sees Kent Stump (guitar, vocals), Tim Wilson (bass), and Michael Walter (drums, backing vocals) doing what they do best, but kicking it up a notch just in case you weren't paying attention.
In summary, if you love extended, psychedelic riff fests, you have absolutely come to the right place. Spark up what you got and settle down for some heavy, heavy sounds.
- 4.5 out of 5
- Pete Pardo
I think I mighta missed the last album from this Texas trio, but it’s good to hear that nothing much has changed. Wo Fat still play long, slow, drawn-out stoner jams, no more than five or six a pop, always ending on an epic note—in this case, the 17-minute “Dreamwalker.”
But first we begin with the title track, slightly shorter at a touch under 10 minutes. This one really packs a wallop, conjuring up some evil spirits with distorted doomy blues—or is that bluesy doom? “Read the Omens” is a tad more up-tempo, if not more upbeat. The driving stoner grooves sound like Fu Manchu on steroids… or maybe just a thick Texas steak. “Pale Rider from the Ice” is probably more blues than doom, its extended intro leading into grimy, grungy guitars over a slightly shuffling backbeat. But “Beggar’s Bargain” brings back the grooves, a nice mellow number for the open road.
But of course, there’s one last tune before we ride on out into the sunset. “Dreamwalker” starts off with swirling feedback and space-bass-in-your-face for a couple minutes, before some ringing guitar riffs enter into the fray. We roll along at a nice pace for a while, some classic desert-rock landmarks falling by the wayside until they tighten things up and we hear the first lyrics about a third of the way in. Quite the catchy, chorus too. “I am the Dreamwalker!” Well, maybe it’s not much of a refrain, as the song soon explodes into a nuclear rifforama, a real far-out psych jam that’ll, erm, expand your horizons.
Better watch out, or Wo Fat will walk all over you…
- Gruesome Greg
Review Summary: Consolidating their position as one of the heaviest and coolest stoner acts.
It's no wonder Wo Fat have found a new level of success with The Black Code less than a couple of years ago. The heavy jams, like always, put the grooves in front and at a shorter length (an important factor that also raised the accessibility), along came the replay value even from those who weren't previously accustomed to their music. While the US was hesitant at first, Europe jumped all over their material. Convinced by their prowess, it seems that the Americans are finally finding their way through the band's discography too. In the wake of this hype these tres hombres quickly came up with yet another full length, The Conjuring.
Riding high on the waves of its predecessor, the record doesn't really aspire to cover new grounds rather than consolidate their position as one of the heaviest stoner acts today. The riffs are more monolithic and crunchier while the drums are pounding harder than ever. It is amazing how much can these guys dig into a certain sound sphere without turning stale. To get the idea of the overall sound, the most representative tune is the centerpiece, 'Pale Rider From The Ice' (who makes an appearance on the grim cover too). After a minute of fuzz-drenched guitar licks, this massive monster starts crawling. Bordering on doom, the bludgeoning riffs create a murky atmosphere while much of the emphasis is put on the powerful, 'dry' drumming. Various slides and feedback-laden solos are intertwined, while the latter half is dominated by some cool, pile driving Southern boogie. This is undoubtedly one of the top 5 Wo Fat tunes so far.
Moreover, the title track reeks of that same malefic vibe surrounding the whole album. Starting from the movie samples at the beginning to the straightforward, dirty grooves, the tune sounds like you're swaying with the devil. Kent's raspy vocals provide the dark, prophetic tone the whole adventure shares. Even if the tune clocks in around ten minutes, it is quite airy since the band really lets their riffage sink in without adding unnecessary parts. The shorter tracks, 'Read The Omens' and 'Beggar's Bargain' feature some more of the usual Wo Fat Southern, booty shaking rhythms complete with several solos and the all time favorite cowbell. They make for great listens while also adding some future live staples. Then, much like each of their records, the closer is a lengthy slow burner that acts as an entire journey all by itself. 'Dreamwalker' features prolonged bass/drum jamming, again with various guitar tweaks over them, before launching into a scorching rocker. The mesmerizing middle segment lets you lose yourself in the music before being crushed with some fast, pounding riffs in the end. If anybody wanted a 17-minute summary of the band, here is everything they can offer served on a plate.
Overall, this is just as good as anything Wo Fat have released so far. However, it doesn't break the standards, it only consolidates the strengths best refined on The Black Code. Looking on the bright side, it shows just how tight the band is and how much care do they put during the creation process. As a result, they have churned the entire album in less than a year and it doesn't disappoint by any means. The only real complaint is the lack of diversity from their usual output, but who can really blame them for giving people what they want, with some added heaviness too. Since The Conjuring relies on the same formulas, we are waiting for the next move to see where are they heading to. So far, the Texan power trio didn't make one sloppy step and hopefully things will only get even better from here.
- Raul Stanciu
When talking about jam bands, the first band that should come across anyone’s mind is the Grateful Dead. Bands whose live performances are great thanks to the spontaneity of long jams between the bands that can make songs go sometimes as long as 20 minutes, maybe even longer. What Texas doom metal band Wo Fat try to do on their new album The Conjuring is capture these jams in studio album form.
Yes, the album is only five songs long and clocks in at a whopping 47:34, this doesn’t include the bonus second album released with it that features the same tracks just in instrumental form. The first song on the album is the almost ten minute title track The Conjuring, and starts the album off on a good groove and takes over two and a half minutes for the singing to start, but at this point that doesn’t matter so much. The song itself is basic to standard doom metal tracks; very slow, keeps your head moving, and is very guitar driven, but with the song being nearly ten minutes and 75% of it being all instrumental, the singing is really irrelevant.
It’s the three shortest tracks on the album that you notice vocalist/guitarist Kent Stump’s voice more. To be clear, though these songs are the shortest on the album, the shortest of these three songs is still 6:28. Yes, 6:28 is the shortest time length of a song on the album. But with Read the Omens and Beggar’s Bargain, the length of the song doesn’t matter as much. The pace of both songs does help with that. The jams are a little more entertaining to listen to, they manage to get the adrenaline pumping a little more, and the vocal melodies are actually coherently good, even hooky at times – you can make out choruses – whereas the third of these three shorter songs, Pale Rider from the Ice, falls short compared to the other two. It’s funny, because the song features the most vocals heard throughout the album, but fails to be much more than just background music for when you’re moseying around on your computer.
Wo Fat go all out on the final track on The Conjuring. Dreamwalker is 17:11 – I’ve been given EPs by bands that are shorter than that – and if you guessed there isn’t much singing in the song, you’re right. The parts of the song that do feature singing are pretty good, I do like the lyrics, and the jam has its moments, but then trails off again in to background music while you accommodate yourself to doing other activities with the music playing.
To be clear, I enjoy the band and the musical aspects of their songs, and rest assured that my rating on this album is based on that. They aren’t the next big thing, but they have potential. It’s capturing these jams on album that doesn’t work for me. I would positively love to see a Wo Fat performance and watch these three gentlemen jam until the sun comes up because I’m sure I’d enjoy it. It’s no secret that seeing a band is a much different thrill than listening to a band on album. You can’t say I don’t enjoy jams; I’ve played with many musicians in front of others where we’ve ventured off in to long jam periods, it’s even more fun to play than to watch, but I’d never think recording them is a good idea. It’s just filled time that could be spent on other potentially promising doom metal songs that I’m sure Wo Fat is very capable of.
“Read the Omens” – The song that can keep a listeners attention all the way through. Its fast pace and great vocal parts make you forget that the song clocks in at 6:54, which is key for any long song.
- Rock Review Phil
To those already familiar with Dallas riff forerunners Wo Fat, their fifth album, The Conjuring, will likely hold few surprises. It is foremost the next stage in the Texas heavy rock trio’s ongoing progression, captured at the band’s own Crystal Clear Sound studio by guitarist/vocalist Kent Stump, it runs a sonically consistent thread forward from their last several records even unto its Alexander von Wieding artwork, the German artist having contributed the last two covers as well, to 2012′s The Black Code (vinyl review here, CD review here), which was their debut on Small Stone, as well as 2011′s Noche del Chupacabra (review here), released by Nasoni. But as that collaboration has yet to yield a piece of such impact as that which adorns The Conjuring, so too do the album’s five songs/47 minutes find Wo Fat at their most developed yet, be it the smooth tempo shifts in “Read the Omens,” the hooks in the opening title-track or the boogie-strong “Beggar’s Bargain,” the bluesy humor of “Pale Rider from the Ice,” or the extended jam in the 17-minute closer “Dreamwalker,” which looms large over the rest of the tracklisting. Wo Fat have only become more spacious and jammed-out over time, so these things are natural progressions, and they very much remain a heavy rock band, but to trace their development since their 2006 debut, The Gathering Dark, and its follow-up, 2008′s Psychedelonaut (review here), is to understand the roots of the utter mastery of their sound they show in these tracks, the power trio dynamic between Stump, bassist Tim Wilson and drummer/backing vocalist Michael Walter shining through the dense wall of fuzz and riffed excellence they’ve crafted. I consider myself a fan, but I think even the most impartial of ears would have to admit they’ve outdone themselves again.
Listening to “Dreamwalker,” one can only wonder how long it will be before Wo Fat jam out a single-track LP, one vital piece that brings their voodoo tales and rolling grooves to bear across a massive, 40-minute exploration, but as much as that cut is bound to be a focal point for anyone who takes on The Conjuring, that’s not to underplay the quality of songwriting that precedes (or, really, that contained within it; as stretched out as that song is, it’s also got a hook). The album opens with a sample culled from 1957′s Curse of the Demon, the quote, “I know the value of the cold light of reason, but I also know the deep shadows that light can cast,” topping a mounting swell of feedback that least to the first riffs of “The Conjuring,” which unfolds patiently but clearly announces its verse riff upon arrival. Immediately Wo Fat are in their element: Vital, natural-sounding, not forcing the song but enjoying the trip they’re taking with it. Between songs like “Shard of Leng” and “Lost Highway” from The Black Code, “Bayou Juju” and “Descent into the Maelstrom” from Noche del Chupacabra and “El Culto de la Avaricia” and “Analog Man” from Psychedelonaut, there’s no question Wo Fat have a history of mixing a few choice hooks into each record, the kinds of choruses you hear immediately in your head upon seeing the name of the song, but The Conjuring balances this impulse best of all with their predilection for jamming, extended tracks bookending the album while “Read the Omens,” “Pale Rider from the Ice” and “Beggar’s Bargain” hold true and further the methods they’ve established as their own over the course of their decade-plus tenure. I don’t know how many layers of guitar there are by the time “The Conjuring” wraps its near-10-minute run, but I know they’re all put to good use, and I know “Read the Omens,” which follows, continues the momentum with no letup and a raucous wash of cymbals to accompany.
Granted, as they hover between six-and-half and seven minutes long, “Read the Omens,” “Pale Rider from the Ice” and “Beggar’s Bargain” have a grounding effect compared to either “The Conjuring” (which is a fitting title-track for its balance of one side and the other, the structure and the jam) or “Dreamwalker” (which moves the jam to the fore more than Wo Fat ever have), but there’s plenty of spaciousness within them as well, Stump leading the way on guitar through verses and choruses both catchy on “Read the Omens” the title line serving as the hook as its has many times before for the band and as it will soon again on “Pale Rider from the Ice,” though that cut shows a bit of bluesman’s personality as well in the vocals on the opening lines, “Last night/Or the night before/Yeah, I said last night/Or the night before that…” eventually deciding it was last night that a worrying dream was had, as a noisy bed of guitar plays out beneath. They get around to a verse and chorus sooner than later, but to find Wo Fat toying with open structures in this way is refreshing five albums in, since it demonstrates their sound is more than just a bipolar “now we play this part and then we jam” approach, and that they’re looking for ways to push it even further than that. Of course, Stump, Wilson and Walter have done exceedingly well setting jams and structured pieces alongside each other, and they’re among the best in the States at it within heavy rock, so I won’t knock it, but as much as “Pale Rider from the Ice” earns its centerpiece position from its title-line hook and resolution that, “It was no dream,” it also does so for how it pushes their approach forward. Though its position as the penultimate track threatens a chance of being consumed by the anticipation for “Dreamwalker” still to come, the quicker shuffle of “Beggar’s Bargain” and its swaggering groove make The Conjuring‘s shortest piece (at 6:28) a high point, with Walter‘s best performance on the album — no, not just for the cowbell — opening the ending guitar solo section with a shift as fluid as any in the closer to come.
Still, how could anything other than “Dreamwalker” stand as the most righteous moment on The Conjuring? At 17:11, it is the longest song in Wo Fat‘s career — the title-track to Noche del Chupacabra is the next closest at 15, though “Nameless Cults” from their 2013 Cyclopean Riffs split with Egypt (review here) was just about 13 and they’ve been close to that mark before as well — and more than that, it’s their biggest jam and they utterly pull it off. Nearly six minutes pass of hypnotic build before the first verse comes around, psychedelic leads a background cloud of distortion swirling all the while as Wilson and Walter hold the flow together, and when Stump – backed by Walter — at last announces, “Whoa yeah, I am a dreamwalker,” the realization that they’ve arrived at a genuine chorus is nothing short of revelatory. The lyrics change up the second time through, but they hold to that verse/chorus structure for another round and draw out the chorus part as “Dreamwalker” moves past its halfway point and into the instrumental charge that will consume its back half, wah and echoed effects adding a spacey feel as Wo Fat ride the groove of their own creation through peaks and valleys, dropping the guitar and bass out shortly before 12 minutes in to let Walter hold down the beginning of what will soon be The Conjuring‘s last from-the-ground-up build, Stump soon joining in with a cosmic blues solo while Wilson plays the unsung hero in anchoring the movement until the drums pick back up and drive “Dreamwalker” toward it and the album’s apex, bringing in a speedier interpretation of an earlier riff to round out with around two minutes left as the guitar takes a wailing solo and the bed for the fadeout is set, Wo Fat phasing themselves out of the picture and leaving behind only the frequency-of-the-universe drone they’ve been playing over as The Conjuring‘s last impression and the resonate sense that over the last eight years since their first record, Wo Fat have become not only the standard bearers for traditional stoner rffing, but also one of heavy rock’s most essential and forward-thinking acts. The stylistic ground they cover here, from jazzy improvisation to thunder-thighed boogie and into psychedelic expanses beyond would be enough to make The Conjuring impressive, but the fact that Wo Fat accomplish these things while still sounding cohesive and unpretentious — please allow me to introduce you to the 17-minute jam that doesn’t lose itself in navel-gazing self-indulgence and leave its audience behind — makes their fifth a shoo-in as one of 2014′s best albums. More than a decade on from their start, Wo Fat stand atop the the genre that inspired them and have set about remaking it in their image, and if The Conjuring winds up being a point of influence in years to come, that can only be to the benefit of heavy rock and roll. Recommended.
- Hp Taskmaster
Wo Fat are from the US and this is their fifth album of Doom Metal.
They have a warm sound that’s very welcoming and makes the listener immediately feel at ease; familiar but not overly so. This is Stoner/Psychedelic Doom in the traditional and spaced out way.
The singer has a good voice that seeps like honey over the rolling drums and infectious riffs. Speaking of, there are some glorious riffs to be had on The Conjuring.
And this is heavy. Joyously heavy. The guitars revel in themselves. Occasional solos snake their way in a lazily serpentine fashion across mountainous riffs that should get even the most jaded Metal fan moving.
The band seem to play these songs without any apparent effort, as if it is the easiest thing in the world to peel off colossal riffs with a beat that won’t quit. They give the feeling of being involved in one big jam, but one that’s coherent and focused enough to not sound a mess at all.
A real exploratory album full of trips to the heavy, fuzzy, scuzzy world of Wo Fat; the songs entice and captivate, culminating in the 17:00 monster that is Dreamwalker.
On the whole, very impressive and very enjoyable; a great listen.
Rejoice all you psychedelonauts, Wo Fat is back with another heaping helping of their trademark brand of malevolent blues rock. On their latest offering, The Conjuring, the boys from Big D take the custom sound they've crafted over the previous four albums and sculpt it into a stoner blooze masterpiece.
The title track opens with a sinister intro that sounds like a cauldron bubbling or perhaps Satan himself cooking up a pot of Texas chili before kicking in with a chugging guitar over a lumbering rhythm recorded at the precise speed at which zombies ambulate. "Forbidden words are spoken and the runes are cast" intones Kent Stump in his gravelly Lemmyesque articulation. With all apologies to his unique off-kilter vocal phrasing, it is Stump's guitar that is the star of "The Conjuring" as it spews forth searing white hot licks. The followup "Read the Omens" is a throbbing fuzz fest highlighted by bassist Tim Wilson's low end rumble.
"Pale Rider From the Ice" begins with a bluesy scat intro before succumbing to a battering piledriver of a riff. Michael Walter bangs out a cranium crushing beat as the searing solo filets your cerebellum. Seriously, if ever there was a song to act as the soundtrack to performing an amateur brain surgery this is it! The undisputed standout of the album though is "Beggars Banquet", a struttin' cock of seventies boogie double baked by the sweltering Texas sun and too many bong hits. Augmented by a hellacious solo and the judicious use of cowbell, the song is a veritable blitzkrieg assault of aural rapage. Closing out the album in epic fashion is the sprawling 17 minute "Dreamwalker. The track smolders its way at a diabolical pace as Luciferian licks insinuate themselves in your brain, eviscerating the last vestiges of your sanity.
Allow me to relay the circumstances under which I first heard Wo Fat’s The Conjuring: it was a Sunday. It was as hot and fucking humid as an elk’s taint. I was wearing whatever remains of the Dillinger Escape Plan shirt I bought on their first tour with Greg Puciato; pants were not involved. I had three fans going in my apartment. I had an intensely-sweating glass of Boulevard Brewing’s 80-Acre Ale and a mostly-cashed bowl of… well, something excellent. I had the Red Sox/Tigers game on mute; it’d wind up being the first win they’d have in a week (they’re a streaky team, not a shitty team, dammit!) It was over all of this that I’d chosen to drape the hazy, riff-heavy perma-fuzz of The Conjuring. There might be no better opportunity to hear this band. I loathe humidity—and, after the series’ first two games, the Tigers—but I managed to love everything with Wo Fat as my guide.
This isn’t to say the band are innovative. Hell, they’re not even throwing a new spin on something that hasn’t been touched. But they nail the shit out of doomy stoner rock. They’re the intersection of Kyuss’ anthemic Sky Valley-era stuff, Clutch’s doom rock boogie, Electric Wizard’s Sabbath-on-cough-syrup apocalyptic mist, and, duh, Sabbath itself. And though a billion—yes, billion—bands have done that, Wo Fat do it perfectly. The Conjuring is a hell of an album: excellently sequenced, varied enough to not induce boredom while not risking stylistic whiplash, and all the songs are fucking great. While (obviously) I enjoy doom that drags you across the coals to make you a better/different person (a la Neurosis, Eyehategod, Lord Mantis, etc.), there’s something to be said for just making some kick-ass stoner rock. Wo Fat sound like they could do that in the middle of Matrix and Star Wars marathons on some holiday weekend.
The most impressive thing about it, though, is how thoroughly jammy The Conjuring is. The band’s power lies in how loose they feel; they don’t rely on theatrics or clever bridges but instead sound confident swinging a bluesy sledgehammer of a riff right into a free-burning solo. This is best illustrated on 17-minute closer “Dreamwalker,” which is one of the best arguments you’re gonna find for journey-not-the-destination songwriting for a while. The Conjuring’s well-integrated spontaneity serves it well, from the rock and roll jamming in “Read the Omens” to “Beggar’s Bargain”’s dynamic buildup seguing into an odd-time signature doom riff to “Pale Rider from the Ice” opening with only a bass solo and vocalist Kent Stump being present. Like the best mega-budget movies in the season for which their music is best suited, The Conjuring is both instantly gratifying and well-crafted. The thoroughly black metal winter we had is going to be followed by a balls-hot summer. But as much as it’ll suck being the perpetually sweaty guy, I’m sure Wo Fat will have us covered.
- SAMMY O'HAGAR
The fuzzy riff masters out of Texas, Wo Fat, are back with their latest speaker cone destroying album, "The Conjuring" their second album on Small Stone Records. The formula hasn't changed a great deal from their last effort, or even their earlier releases, you're still repeatedly smacked around by the torrential Stoner Rock assault that you've come to expect from this band. Sure, it's only a five track album, but with none coming in under a six minute duration you'll be hard pressed to find five heavier tracks this year. From the ten minute opening track, all the way to the seventeen minute closer, you'll be completely enthralled in all of the groovy and fuzzy goodness that these guys lay down from the first moments until the last, jam after jam, never missing a beat. As excellent as the whole album sounds, top to bottom, my personal standout track is "Read the Omens". Opening up with unrelenting fuzz, the track doesn't take long to blast off into full swing. The "tighter than a virgin on prom night" rhythm section create a wall of sonic obliteration so massive that mortal man can barely stand in it's shadow, with that phenomenal guitar tone taking center stage at certain points, managing to inject an even heavier groove than what was provided. The course, gravel road vocals keep a melodic quality all the way through, using that to fade a little of the vocal edge off, even taking on a little bit of a chant-like vibe at a couple of points. When the vocalist isnt' howling, his guitar is, putting down the thick, gnarly riffs and solos one has come to expect from the band. Towards the end of the track, it all devolves into a full on auditory jackhammer, with the band's entire groove slamming it's way home into your brain. This is but a taste of everything this album has to offer. As this album picks up even more steam since it's release more and more people will be picking it up, so whether you just need the digital version to blast at top volume and piss off all your neighbors, or you're a more serious music collector and are balls deep into a vinyl collection, and even all of you fine people that still buy cds, you can find something to fit any of your musical needs at Small Stone's bandcamp, and you will need this in your collection, no Stoner Rock collection would be complete without it.
For Fans Of; Rainbows Are Free, Artimus Pyledriver, Dozer
All Access Rating: A-
If The Sword, Kyuss and the Meat Puppets all gathered together at some lonely desert crossroads to ingest peyote and summon the spirit of Robert Johnson, the resulting jam session might sound a little something like Wo Fat's The Conjuring. A crusty morass of monstrously heavy, churning riffage and fuzzy, swampy grooves lost in a howling storm of constantly mutating psychedelia, the fifth album from these Dallas, Texas, voodoo priests finds the band expanding and lengthening their stoner-metal instrumental forays into the deep backwoods of the soul on such tales of the strange and weird as the propulsive "Read the Omens," the hazy, menacing "Pale Rider from the Ice" and the dark, 17-minute opus "Dreamwalker.
- Peter Lindblad
Monsters of Dallas are back again with his new charge dynamited of sonic boom. "The Conjuring" is called New Wo Fat , fifth studio album from his discography and the second with the American label Small Stone Records , after its predecessor "The Black Code" .
These jam lovers of riffs destroyers have little left in their recent direct in Spanish lands. Where to go beyond devastating, Kent Stump and his perfectly take care of any of its direct not go unnoticed and if it becomes unforgettable.
Your new trabajoes another session of muddy sounds with a stoner than a firmament smokier on distorted. Five powerful cuts as well often make these Wo Fat and a final piece of more than 17 minutes to sign the Americans with a bright bill rarely seen before in their discography.
The style of them is still intact, perhaps the new "The Conjuring" becomes the darkest of his discography work, that's why the band is better than never move. Registration continues the old tradition marked by the formation, ponderous music that travels through a swampy psychedelic groove shattering vibrations and downloading tons of lethal style. All this is from the start with the opening theme named disk.
With "Read The Omens" good old Kent Stump is one of the best brand riffs work. While behind the machinery oiled by Michael Walter to download a dizzying pace drums exploding the group harder than ever. Instinct was the blues always denser than Americans usually have many of his songs, it becomes to notice again here.
"The Conjuring" is not without surprises. No off the road, while Dallas give away an item as "Beggar's Bargain", a perfect blend of fusion of sounds that can be drawn illustrious as Queens Of The Stone Age or Clutch . One of the best flavors stored in his new job, the ability of the formation to maneuver quickly between musical facets such as the thick sound stoner with the style of blues rock, make Wo Fat so key in this court a thousand wonders.
How many bands can see where each day is going by making a copy of the other but what does Wo Fat is unique. Few say no once mark a so attractive personality like theirs. Magnetism who trace their musical lines you sucked your full surround atmosphere best psychedelic waltz to philotes between their species.
The third "Pale Rider From The Ice" after a small initial improvisation, will not take long to get his machete and reminisce as those experienced in the lush world shown as a colossal work was "Noche Del Chupacabra" . This special feature they have to repeat chords under his heavy cloak, makes becoming another attractive swing once again seduced by the music of these great artists. Pura abduction.
The surprise comes at the end, the rules here are simple to follow, just turn up the volume and enjoy the almost 20 minutes left virtually backing Wo Fat to definitively certify its fifth album. "Dreamwalker" is a monster of song, perfect for the busiest Sabbath tribute. The band moves with her lovely ambient sounds a Tim Wilson the fundamental bass improvisation and the definitive Kent Stump the ropes, showing off for the umpteenth time. Gradually, the layers will be constructed as Slit go up and down in a true proverb-laden musical rhythm changes and an exhibition by veteran training makes listening to an album like "The Conjuring" is transformed into something guarantees. Basically as the complete discography of Wo Fat .
The Texan Tornado is back, this F5 as it destroys everything in its path. Wo Fat returns to give another great album to their loyal legion of followers to continue believing in this band and enjoy a year quite remarkable in that genre relates. They could not have expressed better for the album title.
- Ruben Herrera
Genre: Sludge/Stoner Metal
Forget the fuzz, swim through all the smoke and listen close to one very heavy stoner album. The title track is impossibly heavy for even a Wo Fat album, almost taking the fun out of the buzz. “Beggar’s Bargain” comes along about the time the groove medicine slams your skull and brings a goofy grin to your face.
Black mamba songs with long guitar solos slither in one ear but not out the other. The slam and jams never sound like Sunday afternoon improvisations. The Wo Fattys reach electric heavy blues and psychedelic plains burnished in the golden green of metal sunshine. Let the final track, “Dreamwalker,” take you with them.
- Rating: 4/5
- Todd Lyons
Since the enthusiastic reception at last year’s Roadburn festival in Tilburg, Netherlands and Desertfest, London, and their recent high profile slot at the Freak Valley festival in Netphen, Germany, one might assume Wo Fat is a European band. It’s understandable, as to my knowledge they have never extensively toured the United States much beyond their home base in Dallas, Texas. To be fair, their brand of heavy psychedelic stoner rock is most appreciated in Europe, where there is a series of a dozen festivals that specialize in their genres.
A close listen, however, reveals a distinctly American mix of voodoo space jazz fusion, doom and blues. While they don’t quite do southern boogie like ZZ Top, they do have a groove. And Kent Stump’s vocals are both down to earth and somehow comforting. Probably because he could sub for Bill Barretta, the great voice actor who took over the Muppets characters Rowlf the Dog and Dr. Teeth from Jim Henson. With their name taken from the arch-villain from Hawaii Five-O, and album covers by German artist Alexander von Wieding that bring their sci-fi and horror lyrics to life, the band has clearly digested a ton of 70s references. But they don’t sound like any particular band from any decade. All five of their albums have an easily identifiable Wo Fat signature sound, a gumbo of distorted fuzz, thick sludge and heavy, hypnotic bass courtesy of Tim Wilson, and a swingin drummer in Michael Walter. There’s also a notable progression where they are clearly get better on every album. For those who’ve been on board since The Gathering Dark (2006), The Conjuring is a relentless smoker. Like their last two, Noche del Chupacabra (2011) and The Black Code (2012), it’s five longish cuts that go from strength to strength with no filler. The title track kicks off the album with the confidence of a seasoned band. Easing in with some spacey effects and samples, they rock through a few verses in the first half, and then lock into a groove and peel off one great solo after another.
“Read The Omens” pummels hard without being punishing. This is a good thing. A lot of bands in sludge, doom and many other genres try too hard to be hard, and may end up making an impressive noise, but also kind of a chore to get through. This is never an issue with Wo Fat, who keep the perfect balance of heaviness and musicality. “Pale Rider From The Ice” simmers with a slower, textured, doomy pace before picking it up with the groovy riff monster “Beggar’s Bargain.” The closing track is even more of a trippy beast, the 17:11 “Dreamwalker,” a couple minutes longer than their previous epic “Noche del Chupacabra.” It’s so good I’ve played it three times. Newcomers to the band will likely ask themselves how they missed this band for so long. Were they always this awesome? Pretty much. The Conjuring has some sort of secret sauce that makes it my favorite, but they’ve had the amazing tones, riffs and grooves for a while, which means a lot of people have a lot of Wo Fat albums to catch up on.
Like a handful of other bands striding the earth and shacking it’s plates — Truckfighters, Graveyard, Elder — Wo Fat get the heads nodding and occasionally jaws dropping. Patch worthy, t-shirt worthy, they just gotta get back in the van and take it to the road.
- A.S. Van Dorston
Dallas trio Wo Fat’s doom, comes in a far more psilocybin-soaked container. The band’s fifth album The Conjuring (Small Stone) picks up where its stellar previous LP The Black Code left off, as the catchy “Read the Omen” and the blue whale-sized “Dreamwalker” shoot bowel-rumbling heaviness through the heart of an exploding star.
- Michael Toland
It seems I have had to own up to a lot lately, missing out on bands left, right and centre and Wo Fat from Dallas, TX continues this brain freeze mode I'm in. Have heard about them for years but for some stupid reason I have never paid attention to them. Well, I'm the one who's lost out but that is remedied now with the release of their fifth album, "The Conjuring".
The musical concoction they brew has equal parts heavy power blues, psychedelica, doom and stoner with a pinch of excellent jamming. And man it is an amazing drink they offer and like Sæhrímnir, the pig Æsir and einherjar slaughtered every night and feasted on only to come back to life the very next day, "The Conjuring" comes back by each spin, growing into a delicious drink that I can't stop guzzling down.
Starting of with the title track which largely instrumental and full of long awesome solos. The band is going full tilt with the jamming but they also manage to be heavy as hell as well. How they pull it off I don't know but holy shit it's good! "Read The Omens" follows and is a neckbreaker if there ever was one. Can only imagine the craziness this one conjurs in the live setting. It's a beast you hear?! Bringing down the tempo a notch or two "Pale Rider From The Ice" crushes to put it mildly. Slow and knuckle dragging it's a perfect mix of blues and doom.
Groovy, fuzzed out and full of distortion "Beggar's Bargain" snakes it's way through my brain with riffs of gigantic proportions. This is the type of song that envelopes you completely only to crush you and bringing enlightenment of other-wordly dimensions. Amazing stuff people! Ending the album on an epic scale with "Dreamwalker". Clocking in at just over 17 minutes the first 6 minutes are trippy and psychedelic before shifting over to heavy power blues. These Texans are punishing in such a great way which is no more apparent on this long song. There's never a dull moment as they make everything count while simply blowing me to kingdom come!
If you, like me, have never listened to Wo Fat before "The Conjuring" is a great place to start. Obvioulsy, I don't know what their previous albums sounds like so I can't recommend them per se, but judging by this release checking those waxes out will be a treat beyond words. In the mean time I will let "The Conjuring" work it's magic on me. Hell fucking yeah!
- Hakan Nyman
Yup, June is finally here and what would be the most suitable soundtrack to celebrate the occasion than a fresh, face-melting heavy Stoner Rock release? Especially when you like your Stoner served as a fine smoky brisket, yum... Dallas, TX’s trio WO FAT seems to be one of the best representatives of this heavy form of Stoner with the distorted sound and the slobbery vocals fitting like a glove to the upcoming festival scenery that demands a light-colored wide-hat and a cold one at hand. “The Conjuring” marks WO FAT’s fifth full length release, so let’s see if the swamp riffmasters have managed to provide one more sonic shelter for the upcoming hot-as-hell summer days/nights.
“The Conjuring” continues the ol’ good tradition that sees WO FAT as your secret companion for a trip above a psychedelic swamp with Sludgy riffage, heavy groove and tons of nice and slow Stoner vibes. I know that looking at the short tracklisting, you may think this should be an EP release, but if you have followed WO FAT’s discographic steps, you should know by now that whatever they lack in time duration, they gain by creating super-addictive headbanging tunes. The self-titled album opener is perfect for some quality headbanging time wrapped with a catchy Southern amalgam of SABBATH / EARTHRIDE / LAS CRUCES, covered by a nice psychedelic veil as it does around the 05’:01’’ mark. The Bluesy-driven aggressiveness of “Read The Omens” and the CLUTCH-y / QOTSA-laden “Beggar’s Bargain” (just love the cowbell action here) will muddy the waters inside WO FAT’s colorful pond, and it would be foolish of me if I didn’t acknowledge the band’s ability to maneuver swiftly between the Stoner and the Blues Rock pathways, offering some smoky flavors trapped inside this album.
While there are a lot of Stoner Rock albums released nowadays, there aren’t many good enough to stay in your play-list for more than a couple of days. But rest assured, “The Conjuring” has the cojones to take over your listening for quite a while. Feeling intrigued? You should be!
- Maria Voutiriadou
Continuing to usher forth their Wendigo spirit, Dallas’ Wo Fat have returned with their fifth full-length album, The Conjuring, another stoner psych-doom excursion into places unknown, deadly, and dense with an oft-misunderstood species known as the killer blues.
Recorded at guitarist-lead vocalist Kent Stump’s Crystal Clear Sound, the album follows the Wo Fat template of towering doom riffs stirred with the devil-may-care nonchalance of southern blues and classic hard rock fuzz. Similar to their past two efforts, 2011’s Noche del Chupcacabra and 2012’s The Black Code, The Conjuring wields a five-song set of grooving mythically charged stoner rock. While not metal in the strictest sense, Wo Fat’s infatuation for seductive down-tuned riffs, in addition to the sheer sonic weight delivered, makes them a favorite amongst stoner-doom thrill-seekers, and for good reason. The band have yet to lay an egg. In fact, since Stump’s vastly improved vocals on 2009’s Psychedelonaut, the Texas trio have been on fire, and rest assured, The Conjuring hears the boys sizzling from afar with their unmistakable fuzz-realm flair.
Wo Fat, as they do like few others, jam about in a style that’s as much jazz and blues-trio influenced as it is about swirling up stoned-out southern metal dust. With Tim Wilson building and leveling grooves off with his rumbling bass lines, Michael Walter swinging hard and smooth and setting the standard for his boys to follow, and Stump just burning away with his ever-enhancing, always-entrancing solo work – Stump flat-out struts on the closer “Dreamwalker” – Wo Fat have turned The Conjuring into a record that has little to do at all with being recorded. The music is alive with flame and smoke and things that only come out at night.
While the track listing is at a minimum on The Conjuring, the five captured are beasts, each memorable and hardy pieces with mystically themed song titles reminiscent of heavy metal greats Manilla Road; a reality further bolstered by the prolific Alexander von Wieding’s cover artwork; a man who, like Wo Fat, bridges the realms of art and dark fantasy with guile. Of course, Wo Fat are in the business of music, and they scarcely underwhelm, employing driving and bubbling riffs to hypnotic and bluesy effect. The songs, for the most part, do things similarly, but the nuances between a track like the patient assassin “Pale Rider from the Ice” and the infectiously head-bobbing “Beggar’s Bargain” are more than abundantly clear when Stump’s lyrics, solos, and those damned riffs begin to bore deep into your head.
With the hot summer months on the near horizon, Wo Fat’s latest couldn’t have landed at a better time. The Conjuring is the trio at their most confident and awe-inducing, doling out heaviness like heavy ain’t no thing. So be careful jamming this album beside a bonfire. There’s no telling what may come crawling out of the cinders.
- Evan Mugford