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Albez Duz – Enigmatic Rites

Albez Duz
Enigmatic Rites
by Santiago Puyol at 29 May 2019, 6:41 AM

ALBEZ DUZ are a German Doom Metal band from Berlin, formed in 2006. "Enigmatic Rites" is their fourth studio album, and presents a sound anchored in the earliest roots of Doom Metal, bringing sounds from the 60's and 70's with a marked influence of BLACK SABBATH, sharing an interest in the occult with the fathers of Metal. This Berlin quartet makes a very interesting use of sound effects and textures throughout the record, generating a dense, dark and oppressive atmosphere that never ceases to be hypnotic and attractive. Through intuitive songwriting and resorting to a long song format, they construct a musical journey that is more than the sums of its parts. Although the songs on "Enigmatic Rites" are stand on their own, it is clear that this is an album intended to be listened to as a whole.

Creepy atmospheric sounds and guitar squeals kick off the album on "Rites of Hidden Souls", before a guitar riff à la SABBATH enters the scene, setting the tone that the music will embrace over the next roughly 54 minutes. There are some great bass runs by David Petersen throughout the track, and the use of half-harsh vocals build tension, as do the various tempo changes. "Wondering Souls" and "Participation Mystique Totalitaire" follow, flowing as a single almost 19-minute song. The former has a very groovy intro, a greater influence of Sludge Metal and Stoner Rock, and a vaguely Middle Eastern melody. It also features an interesting use of flanger on the guitar and cymbals around the seven-minute mark, which makes for an ethereal and unsettling effect. Meanwhile, "Totalitaire" incorporates the sound of organ or effect-laden synthesizers, adding noisy dissonance, as well as some influences from PINK FLOYD and DEEP PURPLE in its bluesy sound.

Instrumental "When The Bird Fledges" serves to show off the work of the whole band, in particular Julian Müsseler's guitar that explodes in a noisy solo loaded with distortion and wah pedal effect. It also provides a respite from the more oppressive and claustrophobic tone of the rest of the album, although it gets gloomy as a lament during its first minute. "Surrender" continues the bluesy explorations and improvisations, alternating tempos and allowing itself really chaotic moments midpoint through it. Eugen Herbst gets his moment to shine here. Closer "Emperor is Blind" makes a successful use of fade-out to bring the album to its conclusion. Its first half recalls the work of Stoner Rock bands like SAMSARA BLUES EXPERIMENT or THE MACHINE, with a very seventies influenced sound, drinking from both BLACK SABBATH and JIMI HENDRIX in their most meandering moments. The subtle use of the organ increases the seventies vibe, almost as much as does the use of the wah pedal. Its second half introduces more experimental and psychedelic elements, allowing itself to delve into the noise without fear.

Bonus track "Only Lies" (only available on CD version) serves more as an epilogue, feeling a little disconnected from the rest of the album that ended so appropriately with "Emperor Is Blind". Still, it is an entertaining song with an interesting chord progression. It’s certainly worth a listen. Overall, “Enigmatic Rites” is a solid record with strong songwriting. It is a grower and a slow burner, taking its time to build a feel and an atmosphere of its own. Even if it is not the most memorable disc, and at times it sounds a little too samey, it surely rewards those who come back to it. The production sounds intentionally lo-fi, something that suits and even strengthens the music. Vocals are sometimes not that prominent, which seems to follow the goal of using them as another instrument. The "communal" vocal work throughout the album stands out, as Herbst’s and Müsseler's background vocals contribute as much as Alfonso Brito's lead vocals.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 7
Memorability: 6
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Rites of Hidden Souls
2. Wandering Soul
3. Participation Mystique Totalitaire
4. When the Bird Fledges
5. Surrender
6. Emperor Is Blind
7. Only Lies
Lineup:
Eugen Herbst — Drums, Background Vocals
Alfonso Brito — Vocals, Additional Guitars
David Petersen — Bass
Julian Müsseler — Guitars, Background Vocals
Record Label: Listenable Records
     


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