DARK WIZARD – Reign Of Evil

DARK WIZARD - Reign Of Evil
  • 8/10
    DARK WIZARD - Reign Of Evil - 8/10


Mausoleum Records
Release date: August 10, 1985

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In the early and mid 80s, when Heavy Metal was on the rise and on constant development, NWOBHM was the ruling sub-genre. This sub-genre came, originally, from England. But many other European and American Metal acts had drawn a lot of influence from it while trying to create their own thing. Dark Wizard from Vroomshoop (Overijessel), Holland were a part of a rain of bands that came from all over Europe but, unfortunately, didn’t survive.

Formed in 1983, the Dutch group played Heavy Metal, drained from the NWOBHM movement, infused with dark themes like Satan and Horror. That is the reason that many of their fans recognized them as a Black Metal act as compared by the fans of Mercyful Fate that recognized King Diamond’s style as a Black Metal act. Their first official release was with an EP in 1984 under the name of Devil’s Victim. In 1985 the band released its first and last full length album, Reign Of Evil.

Reign Of Evil displayed the same vein of music led by the band since their formation… dark lyrics, many guitar and bass melodies (that were very common to NWOBHM and later on many European Heavy Metal and Power Metal acts), used lots of melodies in their music, raspy and evil clean vocals that told of dark tales.

While listening to the songs you can feel their weight. Not because they are boring in any way, but because the music is slow, in most songs, melodic and has the feel of an epic. Not all of this album is perfect as it could have been in the first place. Dark Wizard lacked various elements in their music. But the reason was pure and simple; they didn’t know as much as is known today in the Metal world. There aren’t too much pace changes or shredding solo breaks or heavy groove parts. That was the band’s way, that was, what it is called today, Traditional Heavy Metal by the book.

The production that is presented in Reign Of Evil is pretty standard for the era. The original recordings were on Vinyl and cassette so the quality, by today’s standards is somewhat medium or low. The band’s sound is similar to many bands back then with crunchy and dark guitar, hard bass lines, late 70s sounds, sometimes like Sabbath’s, and early 80s drums and, like in almost every 80s album, reverbed vocals.

As for the members of this group, they play their part with finesse, creating a sort of dark music, without the extreme influences that lead the bands of the present, their purpose is only by longing to be as evil and as mystical as they can and without corpse paint.

At the vocals comes Berto Van Veen. This guy has a huge part in the evilness of the band and their material. His voice is raspy and cruel, that resembles Dio’s and Running Wild’s front man’s Rock N’ Rolf’s vocals, yet makes his part as a storyteller. In addition he mixes his singing with high pitched tones. The trouble is that, in most tracks, his usage of high notes is not that good and is even annoying like in some parts of “Death Struggle Thriller”. Still the man was the best for the band.

Guitarist, Marcel De Groot, displays great skill in his role. He practices some great solo efforts, especially in tracks like: “Mortal Agony” and “Coming Out Of The Sky”. He also produces some morbid, classic Heavy Metal riffs with galloping speed. One of the greatest talents of this group is the bass player, Kees Reinders. This guy has it all in the bass that many in his time were doing the simple thing of abiding the rhythm guitar. He creates mini solos; he leads the music and gives a superb melodic edge. His best work is the track: “Evil Spirits”. The drummer, Tony White, is not doing anything bombastic or different like many other drummers but still he is doing his job without trouble.

Not all of the tracks in Reign Of Evil can be considered as all time hits but some of them will get the focus they deserve. The opener, “Mortal Agony”, is a hell of an opening track, getting straight down to business with heavy riffs and Von Veen’s cranky vocals. Nice simple riffs and a catchy chorus that tells what the song is all about – “Fighting against…” This song later appeared, in 2004, the Heavy Metal Maniacs compilation. “Evil Spirits” is a Black Sabbath influenced song with morbid rhythm and great bass work. This song is not the usual catchy song, rather less epic than a standard song, but it delivers. “Coming Out Of The Sky” is an absolute classic with marching riffs that resembles in some measure to Dio’s early works with his band. Also there is a leading riff that resembles the one in “Paris Is Burning” of Dokken. “Death Struggle Thriller” is another epic that delivers and the closer and self tilted, “Reign Of Evil”, summarizes the band’s path with a shout.

Dark Wizard is no more because of many problems with their label and they searched for a label with no success. They still continued to play live but with no end to it. With no other option the band scattered and the members went on to play their parts in different bands. Dark Wizard made their stand like many in the 80s and Reign Of Evil stays in the archives of Heavy Metal as a true classic.


  • Lior Stein

    Lior was a reviewer, DJ and host for our Thrash Metal segment called Terror Zone, based out of Haifa, Israel. He attributes his love of Metal to his father, who got him into bands like Deep Purple, Rainbow, Boston, and Queen. When he was in junior high he got his first Iron Maiden CD, The Number Of The Beast. That's how he started his own collection of albums. Also, he's the guitarist, vocalist and founder of the Thrash Metal band Switchblade. Most of his musical influences come from Metal Church, Vicious Rumors, Overkill, and Annihilator.

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  1. IDark Wizzard has been my favorite band for years , I just wish everyone could appreciate them as much as I do , I get upset that they are any less than ahousehold name , They at least should have a movie made about the , like Anvil , the EP showed much more promise than the full length , what lame sleeve art though

  2. If you want to insult heavy metal , reveiw something that is overrated like Judas Priest -Screaming for Vengeance ,or other such radio friendly pop rock disguised as metal , don’t pick on the greatest metal band of all time Dark Wizard , no breakdowns ,reverb rules , another overrated album is Slayer -Reign in Blood , it is 10 times as mellow as Hell Awaits ,I remember it as rap producer sellout , remove reverb is removing heaviness

  3. Dark Wizzard-Devil’s Victim is, was , and shall remain the heaviest hardest hitting most brutal song ever to be laid down in a studi9 . Yes I have heard Deeds of Flesh and 1000 other so called extreme monster voice bands they sound lightweight when measured up against aforementioned track , yourreveiw does not give the proper praiseit should , you can keep your extreme metal , oh I’m sorry you only put real value on bands that have no Melody or musicality at all in the voice ,anyone can belch into a mic

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