Monday, 6 May 2013

Rogue Transmissions - Blizaro - Blak Majicians (album review)

Cover artwork by John Gallo
When I first heard "Lifestream", the second track off this demo album, on the AudiObelisk podcast (I also discover Black Pyramid's "Aphelion" there too), I was floored by its authentic late seventies / early eighties horror film soundtrack sound, but I kept "waiting for the song to start".  It wasn't long before I "got" it and it wasn't much longer after that that I ordered 'City of the Living Nightmare', the band's 2010 full-length album on CD, not knowing what to expect.  Well, it rocks.  But it also spooks and puts a mischievous smile on my face every damn time.  Not too much longer after that I picked up Blizaro's split CD with Wooden Stake.  It also rocks and spooks.

So, am I still waiting for the songs to start?  Absolutely not.  It wasn't until I picked up 'City of the Living Nightmare' that I realized they weren't all ambient horror instrumental / imaginary soundtrack music all the time.  Blizaro play a mix a heavy old school doom with full lyrics and song structure and organ/synth driven intrumentals.  A mix that is almost EXACTLY what you've been waiting to hear your whole life if your toddler ass spent way too much time with your teenage uncles listening to heavy metal and watching horror flicks in the eighties like I did.  It's not often however, that the twain actually meet in Blizaro's repertoire.  That's when Blizaro blindsides you with opening track "Sacrifice", delivering the most potent combination of the band's two styles imaginable.  Headbanging meets head spinning when the synth fires up during the middle 8 of the song creating feelings of unease and terror which only come to a peak during the next track, the instrumental "Lifestream".

You may recognize this title from my "Doom Charts".  As I mentioned earlier, I first heard this song way back in August of last year, but it wasn't until about mid-March that I got this CD in the mail.  It's like one of those feel good filler stories in the newspaper about two people from opposite ends of the earth who were reunited after a chance encounter only to be wedded and live happily ever after.  If some smart-ass wanted to say, "if you love this song so much, why don't you marry it?" I'd say, "Show me the papers asshole, yeah I'll sign 'em!"  This song is still the perfect expression of Gallo's organ/synth explorations to me, if for no other reason than it was my very first impression of the band altogether.  You can listen to each of the two opening tracks, and a small handful of others from 'Blak Majicians' by clicking the links on the tracklist below.

Black metal explorations on "Towers of Mystery" sound like Gallo getting his Crucifist kicks out, it's a short track and the second half of it gears down harshly from blast beat to doom tempo.  If you hear a thick, wet snap during this song, don't worry, it's just your neck breaking from the whiplash effect.  "Bliztramental" once again gets the Blizaro atmosphere just right, and there goes the corner of my mouth into a mischievous smile once again during the whining and echo-laden keyboard break.  I feel like Lucille Bluth, "Oh, you got me again!!"

Man, I don't even know how to describe it, I can't tell you what this band does to me.  I can't say they are my absolute favorite band, but they're right up there and climbing every day.  I suppose if everyone did what Blizaro does, it would get stale real quick.  Fortunately, they remain unique, a dusty gem embedded in the mouldering eye socket of the skull of doom.

"Sobering Through Darkness" then pours forth, spinning perhaps their most catchy soundtrack-like creation to date.  Towards the end of the track, a verse comes in to shovel dirt on it.  With this track and "Sacrifice" Blizaro show a very encouraging tendency to combine their key driven instrumental ambience with their doom metal side.  Maybe it's just a strange impression but it seems to happen more on this disc than anywhere else in the band's discography.

Obviously, I knew about this demo album from the Stoner Hands of Doom XII podcast that I've mentioned twice already.  I saw on Encyclopedia Metallum that this CD was only available at Days of the Doomed II, but I had to get my grubby hands on it.  I messaged the band on their facebook page (see link below) and we were in business.  Maybe the best 8 bucks I ever spent.  This CD is now one of my most prized musical possessions, ... my preciousss!  I don't know how many copies the band have left to sell or if they were even planning on selling any more of these things.  That's what makes this post a Rogue Transmission.  What I do know is that Blizaro's second full-length album coming out on Razorback Records called 'Cornucopia Della Morte'.  No release date has been set or anything like that, last facebook update in mid-March stated that the album was nearing completion.  I for one can hardly wait.  What I do know is that this song will be on it, it's called "Frozen Awakenings".  Listen to it and be afraid.  In the meantime, John Gallo releases spare tracks and demo mixes of songs to youtube all the time under the names John Gallow, JG Blizaro, Johnsgallow, and just plain old Blizaro.  It's all good stuff in the Blizaro vein and it's through this avenue that I can link several of the songs in the tracklist below for your listening pleasure (you can check out Gallo's Borntoodoom youtube page here).

Highlights include: "Lifestream" and "Sacrifice"

Rating: 5/5

1). Sacrifice (5:16)
2). Lifestream (3:42)
3). Slave of Chaos (2:40)
4). Towers of Mystery (2:08)
5). Bliztramental (3:43)
6). Sobering Through Darkness (3:28)
7). Burial Grounds [Trapped Cadavers] (4:40)
8). Voyage Beyond Space (4:06)
9). Projections (3:29)
Total Run Time: 33:07

John Gallo - Guitar, synth/organ, bass, drums, vocals
(below are in the band but did not record on this demo album)
Mark Rapone - Bass
Mike Waske - Drums

From: Rochester, New York

Genre: Horror Doom, Prog, Ambient, Old School Metal

Reminds me of: Dawn of the Dead, Goblin, Orodruin, Paul Chain

Release Date: June 15, 2012

Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: The wizard's in his lab, the demon's in his lair and you're in the graveyard with the headphones on, breathing in the mist.

Blizaro on facebook
Blizaro on Encyclopedia Metallum

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