One of the coolest things about great music is when bands throw a bunch of genres and influences into a melting pot and come up with something awesome and original. That’s the feeling I got when I heard Hazemaze for the first time. The band bills itself as a Doom-Rock trio from Sweden, but they’ve also been described as purveyors of the elusive label of Psychedelic Doom.
What the hell is Psychedelic Doom, anyway? It’s a good question. A jokester on Reddit said it’s “when Black Sabbath impersonators turn on the funny lights.” But seriously, my friends, it’s much more than that. When I think about Psych Doom, I think mainly about great new bands like Aiwass. I’m going to add Hazemaze to the list now, too, who released their third record, Blinded by the Wicked, in January 2022. I’m late to the party on this one, but I’m thrilled I discovered it.
Hazemaze hails from Strängnäs, Sweden (not far from Stockholm), formed in 2016 and started as a garage rock band. Like many Doom Metal headbangers, they have a love of metal legends like Black Sabbath, Pentagram, and Cathedral. Hazemaze’s self-titled debut album was released in 2018, and they followed it up with an excellent sophomore record, Hymns of the Damned, in 2019. The band immediately made waves in the Stoner/Doom scene, and for a good reason, both of these albums kick ass.
Hazemaze has joined the widely acclaimed Heavy Psych Sounds label for this third record, which was wise to pick them up. As the band has matured since 2016, they’ve gotten heavier both with the riffs and the dark thematic elements in their albums. Hymns of the Damned is an album mainly about murderers with songs like “Solicitor of Evil” and “Reverend Death.” Many have compared Hazemaze to Japanese Doom Metal legends Church of Misery, who has made a career of writing killer songs about, well, serial killers.
Estefan Carrillo (Bass)
Ludvig Andersson (Guitar and Vocals)
Nils Eineus (Drums)
About Blinded by the Wicked
From the first song, Blinded by the Wicked kicks you in the face. The opening track, “In the Night of the Light for the Dark,” bursts in with a menacing riff. The rest of the album follows suit, going even darker than Hazemaze’s previous efforts. While Hymns of the Damned was about murderers, this third record tackles another morbid subject: cult leaders and how they manipulate their followers. It’s a perfect Doom Rock theme.
The album is much what you’d expect for a band of Black Sabbath worshippers. Still, it has an original feel to it, and it hits hard. Unlike their previous albums, Hazemaze delivers more standard-fare Doom on Blinded by the Wicked without the special effects and psychedelic haziness. This is an album for headbangers, meant to be played loud, and I’m sure it sounds freakin’ awesome live.
“Ethereal Disillusion” chugs along at a little over six minutes of heaviness with vocals that remind me of classic ‘70s metal. Hazemaze turns it down a notch with “Sectatores Et Principes,” one of the trippiest tracks that many have already noted has definite “Planet Caravan” vibes. As the album continues, though, some later songs sound too similar. The record closes on a high note with “Malevolent Inveigler,” a longer track with a cool riff.
Hazemaze is an excellent new Heavy Psych/Doom act that I’m glad I discovered. Blinded by the Wicked is a forceful Swedish Doom album, but to be honest, it gets a bit tiring after a few listens. There are a few standout tracks, and the riffs are to die for, but I got a little bored by the album’s second half.
This third record from Hazemaze is a bit of a departure from their previous work, which had more psychedelic elements. Blinded by the Wicked is rock-out-with-your-cock-out music, a pure Doom record. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that; it’s just not something I’ll have on repeat that often. Some of the tracks, though, like “In the Night of Light for the Dark,” deserve a spot on every Doom/Stoner playlist. If you like Church of Misery, you’re going to like Hazemaze. Blinded by the Wicked may not be their best record, but there are still some killer riffs and the type of straight-up Doom that’ll pump your adrenaline.
Standout Tracks: “In the Night of Light for the Dark,” “Ethereal Disillusion,” “Malevolent Inveigler”
Check out the creepy-ass video for “Malevolent Inveigler”:
Support Hazemaze by checking out their Bandcamp or finding them on social media (Instagram, Facebook, YouTube).