I first heard Norway’s Sex Magick Wizards back in the spring of 2019 when guitarist Viktor Bomstad reached out to me asking if I’d check out his band’s album Eroto Comotose Lucidity. Improvisational, psychededlic, heady, free-form, and progressive were words that came to mind when I first heard these cats. Jazzy grooves, saxophone freakouts with touches of Coltrane and Dolphy courtesy of Sigrid Aftre, a solid rhythm foundation, and the icing on the cake was Bomstad’s funky Hendrix-meets-McLaughlin guitar delivery. It was an amazing debut from four young musicians that played like grizzled veterans of the studio and stage.
Fast forward two years and the Wizards have returned with Your Bliss My Joy, an all-new full-length that sees the Norwegian four-piece even tighter and flipping the light fantastic with otherworldly jams that would make Mahavishnu Orchestra and Band of Gypsies weep. With the addition of Kanaan’s Ingvald André Vassbø on drums giving Henrik Sandstad Dale’s double bass a proper foundational partner, this band is a force to be reckoned with.
Sex Magick Wizards lock into the spirit of late 60s/early 70s improvisational music that I find much to love about. Electric Miles, Hendrix post-Experience, the aforementioned Mahavishnu Orchestra, but with a looseness that lets the music breathe. When Bomstad lets his Strat get dirty and jangle a bit it adds a soulfulness to the proggy undertones here. The horn here gives their sound an almost King Crimson vibe. Your Bliss My Joy enhances what came two years ago, and invigorates it with surprising bluesy depth.
“Qliphoth Chokehold” opens the album showcasing the brand new rhythm section of Vassbø and Dale. It’s a stunning coming together of low end heaviness and solid foundation, which allows the saxophone and guitar to fly freely in a frenzy of improvastional prowess. This is a showcase opening here. Everyone firing on all cylinders and leaving scorched earth in their wake. “Exaltation” starts out quiet but quickly gets ecstatic and complex. Busy, tight drums and bass lay the groundwork for some heady back and forth between guitar and sax. It feels like the calm and the storm at the same time. Essential strat buzz and some jazz/blues vibes all around.
“Kheter Ascension” is tasteful and tranquil with some serious Bitches Brew vibes. It’s the longest track here at over 8 minutes and Sex Magick Wizards waste not a second of it. The saxophone here is reminiscent of Wayne Shorter’s soprano work with Miles, while the Bomstad’s guitar quivers and quakes in the background with airy noise ala what sounds like a Frequency Analyzer. The track builds to a proto rock groove and doesn’t let up, melding together serious free-form fire.
The album ends on the one-two punch of the fusion-heavy “Father…Our Pain” and title track “Your Bliss My Joy”. The former locks into modern modal jazz/experimental that you’d hear from someone like Mark Mazurek and Black Cube Marriage, while “Your Bliss My Joy” summons the spirit of Coltrane’s A Love Supreme while injecting some serious Norwegian winter blues dirge vibes. You can almost see the flames licking at the night sky as this track exorcises some serious musical demons.
What can I say? These Wizards know their forward-thinking, fusion-loving psych prog rock. Not only has Sex Magick Wizards reached the previous highs of their debut, but have surpassed them. Your Bliss My Joy is an exquisite ride into the unknown and you’ll savor every moment of it.
8.2 out of 10