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Alastor – Black Magic Award winner

Black Magic
by Jose Macall at 25 May 2017, 12:43 PM

Doom is the odd duck of Metal because it doesn’t have all the speed and intensity of all the other genres yet it still manages to be so evil and heavy that it not only gets a pass, it’s fully embraced by any metal head worth their salt. Doom has its roots deep in the lineage of Heavy Metal’s family tree. Black Sabbath was a founding cornerstone to the genre and several excellent bands have taken that initial sound and run with it, enhancing and adding their own ideas. There’s panoply of options for the interested listener of Doom, Sludge, Stoner, and all the sister sounds. Bands like ELECTRIC WIZARD, WITCHFINDER GENERAL and CANDLEMASS have put out killer albums and songs that continue to be hailed decades after their releases. Enter: ALASTOR who shares the namesake of a Greek Spirit of Vengeance and living curse. “Black Magic” has an album cover that seems like a dark omen, rife with the occult.

The music here is slow and crushing. It’s an ever-creeping tendril of sinister intent. This is the type of ominous dread that being lowered into boiling oil brings. It’s a syrupy sound that suffocates the listener in a pool of grooving entropy. ALASTOR have released a catchy, foreboding album that is both filled with ripping riffs and haunting sepulchral vocals. There are great loose leads that suck you right along for the ill-fated voyage into the realm of the audio specter. While there are only three songs on this album, it’s over a half hour long. A testament to the lengthy songs that never seem to grow old thanks to fantastically fetching rhythms.

The album opens up with “Enemy”, a song reminiscent of the book Grendel, being told from the point of view of some sort of scapegoat or antagonist. It’s a great switching of perspective that’s delivered in a sweet cyanide capsule of monstrously alluring guitar riffs. The second track, “Nothing to Fear” alludes to both religion’s controlling effects as well as questioning beliefs in general. It’s a great message that’s accompanied by awesome songwriting. The title track, “Black Magic”, is a fourteen-minute-long pilgrimage to the realm of the dark lord. Between the phantasmal chants, the funeral-procession style march of the devastating melody, and the thundering lows of a fuzzy bass, it’s hard to not find oneself getting pulled into the music. Nodding and singing along to the chorus seemed welcomed by the leisurely pace of the tracks.

If there’s one thing I don’t like about this album, it’s that there isn’t more of it. ALASTOR have an album that’s great to listen to as both background music and something to focus on. It’s great whether you’re sitting idle and hanging out having a smoke and specifically paying attention and is also great to tune out to and have as background music while you think or focus on a task. Albums that do this are always welcome to a collection. I highly suggest you add this one to the pile, if you haven’t figured it out by now. There isn’t anything to not like here. Sure, this might not be an intense adrenaline pumping blitz, however it’s just as wicked. This isn’t an auditory nuclear bomb; it’s a crippling plague that kills just as many but in a more sadistic and grotesque manner. So light that bowl, raise those horns, and sacrifice those virgins because this is a definite recommendation.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Enemy
2. Nothing to Fear
3. Black Magic 
J - guitars
H - guitars
S - drums
R - bass/vox
Record Label: Twin Earth Records


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