Thursday, February 22, 2018

Black Wizard gets heavier than ever on new album

November 15, 2017 by Adam Marsh, student editor 

Black Wizard drummer Eugene Parkomenko’s passion is in sitting behind the kit, and for good reason: his father played drums, and he followed close behind his old man. But Parkomenko does more then play drums for the Vancouver stoner/doom metal band—often, he’ll hum a guitar part he wrote into his phone and let his bandmates take it from there.

“All three of them play it together back at me, and then I’m just like, ‘Holy shit. That’s what I wrote?’ It’s hard to believe,” he says. “They’ll add a second harmony or whatnot and then [bassist] Evan [Joel] will do an insane bass line underneath, and it just comes together so fast. Those guys are such pros.”

Black Wizard are bringing beer, beards, and big riffs to town this month (photo by Milton Stille).

Black Wizard’s 2016 album New Waste is very diverse, with heavy moments, rockier parts, and some mellow lines thrown in the mix as well. Parkomenko says the band strives to make each album vastly different from the last, and says that Livin’ Oblivion, which will be out in February, is a lot heavier than their other albums. He says that a lot of Black Wizard’s inspiration for past albums came from ’70s output by bands like metal legends Judas Priest.

“There’s no shame in having chill songs, ballad songs,” he says. “The band is still a heavy metal band, but we just look up to bands like that so much— ’70s Scorpions and ’70s Priest, especially—we don’t really care if anybody doesn’t like the chill stuff and thinks it’s lame. The new one is definitely 80, 90 percent metal.”

Parkomenko says the transition into heavier sounds was not necessarily a conscious one, but it was one the band rolled with.

“We had just been playing with so many heavier bands, I guess we just subconsciously started writing heavier stuff,” he says. “We didn’t even really notice until the nine songs were done and seven of them were very heavy.”

The band will be touring Europe in 2018 to promote Livin’ Oblivion; Parkomenko says it can get hard living in tour buses, but it’s all worth it.

“Sometimes you want to kill each other,” he says. “We’re still brothers and we do everything together pretty much like half of the year. We hang out together more than our girlfriends and parents, so we kind of have to make it work.”

But those struggles are a small price to pay for being able to see the world. And a drink or two can help out along the way.

“I’m still not complaining,” he says. “We chose to do it. We just try to stay positive; we bicker and complain, but once we get to the venue, we all get excited, finally, because it’s the one thing we want to do all day. The rest of the time is just kind of a lull. The drinks help.”

He says the band has never had a bad show in Victoria, and calls the city a second home.

“It should be a good show,” he says. “Adam [Grant], our lead singer, his little brother’s band are coming to open for us. Killer Deal; they’re an awesome band.”

Black Wizard
Saturday, November 18
$13.50, Capital Ballroom (formerly Sugar Nightclub)

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