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It's all about that first song - 72%

Abominatrix, June 19th, 2018

here's an obscure oddity. Before they changed their sound to something faster and "blacker" and got themselves a new vocalist, this little-known Japanese band released a raw and eerie mini-album with a female singer, who then seems to have vanished into whatever witch's coven she was summoned from, and never was heard from again. So, this, like the early work of some other bands, is a case of a road not-really-travelled, in the sense that they quickly abandoned what they were doing here. I think tha'ts mostly a shame, and I'll explain why in the next paragraph.

The reason, then, is the first song on this short record, "Burn with the Sin". This song is extraordinary! It starts with almost five minutes of quiet, dolefully clanging clean guitars, trudging drums (that huge, echoing snare sounds awesome!) and very soft, troubled singing, which to me gives off a vibe of creeping horror. When I played this the other day, my girlfriend said, "This is terrible!" Well, yes, the introduction is lengthy, but you need to have patience and be willing to go to the dark, doomridden realm the band wants to take you. Soon, there are some cymbal crashes, and the heavy, distorted chords make themselves known. The tention built up by now is really profound, and it's almost a sense of relief when the metal attack finally begins. The eerie, high-pitched singing continues with a more forceful character, along with some claustophobic, dark riffing, before settling back into the slow, painful unmetallic crawl of the opening minutes. I love the cave-like, raw sound, and Kaizumi's singing is simultaneously alluring and a little unsettling. I think the only thing really missing from this song is a killer solo, but it's aiming for a stark reality and such showiness might go against the principle of what the band was aiming for here.

Now, the other two songs are pretty good, but not great, and, in contrast to "Burn with the Sin", not all that special. "Vampire" is the better of the two, and Kaizumi continues to kind of lead the proceedings with some really charismatic singing. She can be pleasantly tuneful but also sound a bit like a crow cackling, and that's pretty neat. What happened to her, i wonder? I have heard the band's first full-length with a different singer and I just didn't feel all that captured. Anyway, "Vampire" and "Raper" are solid, driving heavy metal tunes, like those you could hear from many other bands in the 80s, though perhaps a little darker than some. The riffing and sound are certainly strong enough, and the singing, which is both excited and frantic at times, provides an element of originality. Still, where they were going with that first song was intriguing, and I admit I wanted to hear more of that. It's so different, sinister and morose, and those quiet parts are probably slower and bleaker and more horror-derived than most things you would hear on a metal record in 1985. Maybe something like Black hole would come close, and even mentioning Bellzlleb in the same breath as Black Hole means something rather significant.