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Early Moods - Spellbound Award winner

Early Moods
Spellbound
by Mark Machlay at 14 September 2020, 10:32 PM

Doom metal seems to be the ruling metal subgenre this year as I have come across numerous good to even excellent doom metal albums from relatively unknown bands. Maybe it’s a reflection of the uncertain time we’re living in or some happy coincidence but Los Angeles, California-based EARLY MOODS is set to release yet another captivating doom metal release, though regrettably short one, in the their SPELLBOUND EP. The youthful guitarist Eddie Andrade alongside longtime cohort, vocalist and synth player Albert Alcaraz formed the basis of the group in 2015. Brought up on classic rock and NWOBHM bands, the pair played in various thrash and death/black metal bands before wanting to return to the roots of what influenced them when first started playing in their early teens. What especially resonated with them were the heavy doomy riffs of BLACK SABBATH’s Tony Iommi and the two chose to seek out bands that bored down deeper into that particular pinprick niche, ultimately finding WITCHFINDER GENERAL, PENTAGRAM, and the infamous CANDLEMASS. Initially very rocky in the beginning – having a very unstable lineup until recently, mostly friends that were willing to help the duo out – they are ready to take on the world, pandemic permitting, with Oscar Hernandez on lead guitar, Chris Flores on drums, Elix Felciano on bass.

The monstrous debut EP was given a digital release in late April and will see a physical release in both LP and CD form and is certainly worthy of the a vinyl purchase. Starting out with spooky sounds out of 1970s horror movie, they jump right into BLACK SABBATH – like slow, doomy riffs on title track “Spellbound”. The production is light, airy and Alcaraz’s vocals float ethereally over the top like a disembodied spirit in a graveyard. The backbone of “Starless”  is a riff that pays heavy homage to the one that drives “Children of the Grave”. It has a slowdown halfway through that allows the listener to catch their breath and the vocals intone a sound that remind me of a melodious version of when wolves howl at the moon.

“Isolated” blasts a fiery, occultish, squealy guitar solo out of the gate into more groove based riffage. It sounds urgent, like a sped up “Electric Funeral”, ending with a rollicking, galloping riff with an exquisite wah-drenched outro solo. I particularly love the bass guitar mixing here and Felciano’s lines add so much depth in this song. “Desire” brings it back to an atmospheric feel with a swelling guitar intro before erupting into riff-based doom. The solo here pulls out all the stops with wah and tremolo picking, but with slightly less finesse than usual because it’s more about building out the atmosphere. By “Living Hell”, you think you know what the band is about, and yet here, they get faster and add more chugging guitar riffs, synths and a great solo with lots of flash.

I think the line “I fell into blackness, yet again” a line from “Starless” sums up my feeling towards the band very succinctly: it was like coming home and listening to new doom metal in my early teens and feel that tinge of excitement. What even further fuels that excitement is reading an interview with the band and learning that they are using the downtime they have from touring due to the pandemic to write material for an eventual full-length debut. Their retro 70s-80s approach to doom metal is welcome in a sea of bands that are trying to re-invent the wheel. If that sounds appealing to you, I highly recommend this group.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Spellbound
2. Starless
3. Isolated
4. Desire
5. Living Hell
Lineup:
Eddie Andrade – Guitars
Oscar Hernadez – Lead Guitar
Chris Flores– Drums
Albert Alcaraz – Vocals and Synth
Elix Felciano – Bass
Record Label: Dying Victims Productions
     


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Edited 01 October 2020
 

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