Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2020
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Maybe For A Moment We'll Take You Away... - 73%

CHAIRTHROWER, September 15th, 2020
Written based on this version: 2020, Digital, Independent

Alongside Austin's Duel and Dallas' Mothership, amongst notorious Texan stoner/doom (rock) worthies, is San Antonio's Burn Ritual, author of a 2017 dual track EP, as well as pair of sturdy full-lengths in 2018's Blood of the Raven (under Ireland's Cursed Monk Records) and last month's slightly longer, albeit blandly titled, The Void, an eight song, forty minute exercise in Black Sabbath-ian desert doom, physically limited to 200 CD/cassette copies and released under Denver's Forbidden Place Records (think Devil's Witches, Mephistopheles and The Crooked Whispers, for clearer picture).

Borrowing from Electric Wizard standard-ized, occult-ic media soundbites, The Void gingerly begins with a professor type narration over dainty, scientific gala presentation evoking piano, re-transcribed in full, kitsch glory:

"During many centuries, in various parts of the World, various diabolical rites and ceremonies have been practiced in homage to various sinister gods who are believed to have many supernatural powers. These rites are generally known as voodoo, which consists mostly of black magic and the cult of death..."

This makes for a grand entrance, as the droning "Lust For The Dead" - necrophiliac's fancy? - pendulously sets tone for aptly sounding title track, where dismally wasted vox, courtesy of one-time every-man Jake Lewis (the quartet's stepped down to solo formation, since last time), apply a fresh coat of Ozzy-like nasal despondence to proceedings. Throughout the record, Lewis' liberal use of back-ground, atmospheric synths imbue a groovy Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats or Devil's Witches sensation, whilst a spartan, minimalist rhythm guitar approach succeeds by means of repetitive, sped-up sludge riffs - see "The Void" proper for prime example - beneath which odd, tortured minor pentatonic guitar solos rise to the fray.

Battery-wise, bass is very audible and plump, but, except for on the kookily upbeat and shaking "Bringer Of Evil", rarely strays far from its comfort zone, with the submerged feel of the drums providing a solid, however prosaic, base for the highly gained guitar dirges to keep listeners from grazing too far from the couch (and/or speakers). The same can be said of vocals, which, without wax or wane, suit the music perfectly. They're simply not of the most exotic or differing mien, much to detriment of a good pal, who's constantly wary of any new doom, worrying the singer falls too far deep into Ozzy-emulation turf.

Regardless, The Void is an excellent album when intended mainly as background fodder i.e. to doing homework (other than writing metal reviews and unearthing new bands/albums) or lulling, sheep-counting aspirations - as in, going into a daze, letting the mind shut down from our daily Covid-s(e)ized activities. (It remains a more shamanistic, as opposed to spatially transcendental, answer to Superstar Destroyer's Master Of The Seven Stars, say.)

Aside from highlight "Bringer Of Evil" and infectiously swinging successor, "Mark Of The Witch", plus stand-out, six minute closer, "Evil Lie", buddy might want to shirk less egregiously original tracks, such as run-of-the-mill "They Crawl" or rather hypnotic, twenty-ton pounder "Tranquilized". However, it's worth sticking around for The Void's first, complete half-hour - including one hundred second ornamental ambiance piece "The Conqueror" (sans "worm", but a swell, cleanly swirling blues lead) - in order to enjoy the magnificence imbued within "Evil Lie"...

As exclaimed in La Belle Province, "Bonté Divine!"

It's a mesmeric, ideally poised, slow-burning and oh-so-cathartic, coming-of-age hat trampler which, dare I say, wears itself down all too soon. For some reason, Jake's epically towering chanting, here, supersedes anything done prior, while the Oratory-esque keys lend a mystical, Craneium-iminent Autumnal breeze, throughout, as loftily monolithic drum beats hark back to classic British doom a la Witcher's Creed or Electric Wizard. Granted, it's not a complex track in the slightest; insofar as vibe and tone go is another story.

Only cursorily have I imbibed 2018's Blood of the Raven, and don't expect it to fare any better or worse than The Void. Yet, considering they're jollies to be gleaned herein, highly (auto) suggest myself to retrace steps and give it another shot.