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Brimstone Coven - Black Magic

Brimstone Coven
Black Magic
by Danny Sanderson at 12 April 2016, 1:46 AM

Metal and the Occult go together like Donald Trump supporters and low IQ's. Ever since the first chords on BLACK SABBATHs eponymous track on their first record, through to the NWOBHM stalwarts like VENOM and ANGEL WITCH, and right up to the present day with amazing Occult Rock acts like GHOST and BLOOD CEREMONY, the Occult and all its trappings have clung to the genre we've grown to know and love as Heavy Metal. Many bands flirt with these themes, or use them in a very tongue in cheek manner, but few mix arcane learning and great music together in a way that comes across as genuine and enjoyable. BRIMSTONE COVEN are one of these precious few bands, and their latest record, "Black Magic" is a career high for the Virginia natives, cementing their name alongside many of the bands who've taken this kind of musical and lyrical approach.

The opening, titular track is a great piece of fuzzy, old school Hard Rock, complete with a dense, throbbing bass line and some imaginative guitar hooks. The vocals provide just as many hooks and great moments as the music does. Big Johns vocal lines soar and captivate the audience from the second they start. It's the sort of track that commands your attention, and it really sets the tone for the rest of the record early on. "Black Unicorn", although short, is a really cool, retro Hard Rock track that bands like PENTAGRAM would be proud to call their own. With confidently played musicianship and gnarly guitar solo, this is a song filled to bursting with great music and infectious guitar and vocal performances. "Beyond the Astral" really seeks to up the ante when it comes to great riffs; from the amazing twin guitar line that provides the song with its initial hook, through to the chunky, Hard Rock chops of the tracks main motif, it's an amazing song that it's really hard not to love. The music on all fronts is excellent on this track, and glides from one cool idea or lick into another with ease and finesse, meaning that there isn't a dull moment on this near seven minute long opus. "As We Fall" is a hair raising, catchy ballad that experiments with cleaner tones and a softer musical approach to amazing effect. This song has, without a shadow of a doubt, some of the most impressive and impassioned vocal work on the whole record. They have a really memorable, sing along quality to them, and it sticks in the listeners mind long after the final notes have died down. The albums fifth offering, "Upon the Mountain", is every bit as monolithic and gargantuan as the songs title implies; with full, hefty guitar lines, tight, rhythmic drumming and a solid, pulsing bass line. Although it is another one of the albums longer tunes, it seems to pass much quicker, chiefly because the music on offer is so engrossing and interesting that time seems to fly.

"Slow Death" kicks off the second half of the record in style. It's an incredibly energetic slab of classic Hard Rock, with really authoritative guitars, drums and vocals all on display. There's some great guitar solos and stand along drum trills, along with a really prominent, sludgy bass line that really illustrates the musical prowess of all the bands members really well. "The Seers" is a powerful track, which is musically evocative of early BLACK SABBATH. The vocals, as always, are amazing, and manage to imbed themselves into the listeners mind, making this one of the albums most enduring and memorable songs. "The Plague" is another track that makes great use of cleaner guitar tones, coupling this with a very atmospheric edge and some more of those brilliant bubbling bass passages. It's got a very dark sound, despite the fact that it is much softer than the vast majority of the tracks on this album, but this change of pace and style works extremely well, especially at this point on the record. The albums penultimate piece is the measured and laid back "Forsaken"; it's a decent track in its own right, but it doesn't feel "climactic", as the second to last song on a record should. The music is competent and has its catchier moments, with some nice, groove laden guitar work and sweet, melody tinged vocal parts, but other than that, it doesn't feel like the sort of track that the album should have been building up to. That distinction goes to the albums closing track, "The Eldest Tree"; this song opens to the sound of shrieking crows, and once the music begins, the listener is treated to some of the most substantial, robust riffs on the whole record. The almost chant like vocals compliment the music perfectly, and the epic sound of the whole song leaves listeners wanting more as the final notes of the colossal song finally fade.

This is a really, really good slab of classic Occult Rock done at its finest. The bands many influences can definitely be heard throughout this record, without straying into the realms of parody or imitation, and carving out their own distinct style and sound that separates them from the musical herd. The band has, in all its members, talented and gifted performers who have the potential to take the Rock world by storm, and if they continue to write great music in this vein, you can be sure that they will be exciting and beguiling audiences the world over in no time at all.

4 Star Rating

1. Black Magic
2. Black Unicorn
3. Beyond the Astral
4. As We Fall
5. Upon the Mountain
6. Slow Death
7. The Seers
8. The Plague
9. Forsaken
10. The Eldest Tree
Big John Williams- Vocals
Corey Roth- Guitar
Andrew D'Cagna- Bass
Justin Wood- Drums
Record Label: Metal Blade Records


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Edited 08 February 2023

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