Desert Psychlist has probably bored some of you rigid with our slavering appreciation of Italy's scuzz rock/acid doom sub-genre but we refuse to apologise for promoting the likes of Black Spell, Demonio, Sonic Demon and others because the lysergic laced fuzzed drenched doom these bands explore is something we think deserves your attention. The sound these bands bring to the table obviously owes a huge debt to Black Sabbath and Electric Wizard (especially the latter) but it also possible it owes a debt to a band living literally almost on their doorstep. Black Capricorn hail from the island of Sardinia and although their early sonic attack leant more towards doom of a traditional flavour there was always an element of grainy fuzzed out "scuzziness" about their sound,. The band, whose current line up consists of Rachela Piras (drums); Virginia Piras (bass) and Fabrizio Monni (guitars/vocals), briefly disbanded in 2019 only to reconvene again in 2021 whence they almost immediately started working on new songs , those songs have now been finished, recorded and are now ready for consumption via the bands fifth album "Cult of Blood" (Majestic Mountain Records), an enthralling mix of old and new school doominess tinted with just a hint of good old "scuzz"
Things start off suitably "scuzzed" out and fuzzy with "Secret Society of Seven", Rachela and Virginia Piras laying down an impressive grainy bedrock of rhythmic proto-doom over which Monni layers distorted guitar refrains and searing guitar solos while also telling us in clean melodic and ear catching tones of some of the "Seven's" nefarious dealings and ritual practices. Some will be reminded of Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats in the way that Black Capricorn blend this songs blustering heaviness with a hook laden vocal melody but for their new albums next track, "Worshipping the Bizarre Reverend" the band pay homage to another band with a song referencing the traditional doom and heavy metal of Finland's Reverend Bizarre, the band dispensing with the grainy stoner-like fuzz of of their opening track and opting for a thicker denser dynamic that alternates between strident and galloping and low, slow and heavy with Monni's vocals taking on a deeper darker tone. It is the previous songs lower slower dynamic that informs next song "Giants of Prama" , its atmospheric dirge-like groove, driven by Rachela's steady pounding percussion and Virginia's growling fuzz drenched bass, is given extra atmospheric gravitas thanks to Monni's crunching power chords, tasteful blues infused solos and monastic like vocals. For "Godsnake Djamballah" Black Capricorn opt to go instrumental and experimental and manage to pull it off surprisingly well, the Piras sisters laying down a low slow doomic groove over which Monni layers a smorgasbord of effects and guitar trickery. We are back in Uncle Acid territory again for "Snake of the Wizard" with Black Capricorn once again successfully balancing melody with might on a song that walks a nice line between scuzzy proto-metal and traditional doom while for "Witch of Endor" they re-enter the realms of low slow and heavy but then take the songs enjoyment level up several notches by adding a little heavy psych texturing and colour into the equation. Black Capricorn close "Cult of Blood" with "Uddadhadder" a hypnotic opus with exotic undertones that boasts Arabian guitar textures, eastern rhythms and droning bass motifs over which mantra-like vocals are reverentially intoned, the song serving as a bewitching finale to a totally captivating album of quality Italian doom.
© 2022 Frazer Jones