Sunday, July 12, 2015

…beware the haunter and the hound: BLACK CAPRICORN / BRETUS – 7” split 2015

Italian doom acts Black Capricorn and Bretus have teamed up for a split 7” release that is almost as evil as it is heavy. Slow ominous riffs are the rule and both bands bring a fair-share of shadowy psychedelics to the proceedings, particularly Black Capricorn—a band that has been successfully quarrying elements from the dark underbelly of space rock over the span three excellent full-length albums. Bretus may not have spiraled as far down the rabbit hole as their fellow countrymen in terms of overt psychedelia and noise manipulation, but they have mastered the craft of composing engaging, hook-laden traditional doom metal that seems to get murkier and heavier with each successive release. Though officially released in 2015, Bretus’ Lovecraft indebted ‘The Shadow over Innsmouth’ (review HERE) was a 2014 favorite here at Vertical Chamber Apparatus.

Bretus’ contribution, “The Haunter of the Dark,” definitely has more in common with the dark sonic vibes that emanate from ‘The Shadow over Innsmouth’ as opposed to the varied, still excellent debut full-length ‘In Onirica.’ The tone for “The Haunter of the Dark” is set from the get-go with pouring rain, distant thunder, and the portentous tolling of a bell clanging gloomily at the fore. Clichéd? Perhaps, but who cares? It works perfectly with the ensuing auditory assault unleashed by Bretus. “The Haunter of the Dark” is classic sounding doom metal that could best be described as classic-era Trouble meets Germany’s Dawn of Winter. “Haunter” is a mid-tempo scorcher with enough heft to get the adrenaline flowing, yet still slow and atmospheric enough to remain foreboding. This is some of Bretus’ finest work to date.

Black Capricorn’s “The Hound of Harbinger God” is an entirely different abomination altogether. A rising tide of white noise engulfs the listener and as the swell reaches its bursting point the band settles into a slow, lysergic groove. Without a doubt, this is some of Black Capricorn’s strongest material. The liquid lead guitar playing—contributed by both Fabrizio "kjxu" Monni and Daniele Manca—seems to bleed through the cosmic aether and out of the listener’s stereo speakers. “The Hound of Harbinger God” is a trippy, stoned-out tune that burns with the intensity of a candle at a black mass before fading away, engulfed by the returning wave of white noise.

Both bands put their best foot forward and pull no punches on this split release. “The Haunter of the Dark” finds Bretus further exploring horror and the macabre seemingly with ease and with great success. As much as I loved the band’s debut, ‘In Onirica,’ their current excursions are just as satisfying. Black Capricorn’s “The Hound of Harbinger God” is a dark trip that, at eight-and-a-half minutes, ends far too soon. Highly recommended split from these excellent, on-the-rise Italian doom acts…

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