Sunday, January 5, 2014

…a grand grimoire of compositions and incantations: BLIZARO – ‘Strange Doorways’

Acting as a conduit while in the throes of a hypnotic madness—with seemingly unseeing eyes and actions guided by the all-knowing seers from realms long forgotten—the wizened sorcerer deciphers and channels forbidden knowledge from beyond the macrocosm. With a mastery of the mystical and alchemical spheres of the arcane arts disparate elements are meticulously combined into countless compounds, broken down, and recombined into unfathomable abominations that transcend both space time. Welcome to the wonderful world of Blizaro…

Praise to I, Voidhanger Records for collecting and compiling the elusive demo recordings of Blizaro, the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist and mad composer John Gallo. While not releasing some of the best American doom metal with Orodruin, Gallo has kept busy by crafting…well, pretty much whatever he pleases. With influences ranging from doom and traditional metal, horror soundtracks, Italian prog-rock, organ church music, and Gregorian chants, Gallo has concocted a vast collection of tunes that are both reverential and, at the same time, interestingly new. Throughout the forty tunes that make up ‘Strange Doorways’ the listener will hear glimpses of Black Sabbath, Paul Chain, Goblin, John Carpenter, Tangerine Dream, and Thin Lizzy among a myriad of other notable and influential acts. Despite the often dissimilar and contrasting elements, Gallo seems to pull off the unimaginable by throwing them into the loom that is his mind and miraculously weaving a cohesive sonic tapestry.

The two disc set, ‘Strange Doorways’, compiles the band’s demos in reverse chronology: 2012’s ‘Blak Majicians’, 2009’s ‘The Old Wizard of Winter’, 2008’s ‘Blue Tape’, and 2006’s ‘Horror Rock’, with additional tracks thrown in for good measure. Throughout the span of the forty tracks of ‘Strange Doorways’ the listener is, in the blink of an eye, transported to the uppermost chambers of a wizard’s tower, to the darkest, deepest dungeons of a decrepit old castle, to the desolate wastelands of a cityscape crawling with the undead, or to being shackled to the sacrificial altar of a black mass.

‘Strange Doorways’ defies all logic and is not bound by space, nor is it subject to time. The album, though rooted in the musical genres and traditions of the seventies, branches out to ages long past while simultaneously reaching out toward the present. The instrumental demo ‘The Old Wizard of Winter’, for example, is an organ and synthesizer laden soundtrack filled with homages to seventies Italian cinema with tracks like “Fierce Steps the Troll” as well as an ode to 8th century church services exemplified by the likes of “White Frijid Mass”. It’s also a timeless, hellish journey through the gates of Hell with the sinister vibes of “Portal of Betrayal”.

Blizaro is one of the most uniquely creative bands going today and ‘Strange Doorways’ is a career spanning collection of mad genius at work. With a runtime of two-and-a-half hours, ‘Strange Doorways’ is a massive collection of multi-faceted tunes that avoids easy categorization. Few individuals or bands are able to include such wide-ranging influences into their musical vision without crashing and burning to some degree. Blizaro—through some form of witchery or other—seems to avoid this pitfall. ‘Strange Doorways’ is the perfect name for the album, as each tune is a portal to another time and another place, and each one is seemingly darker and gloomier than the last.


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