|Cover artwork by Brian Tutlo.|
It's not often that a truly original voice emerges from the realm of traditional doom metal, it's pretty much an oxy moron, but Beelzefuzz emerges a new and totally unexpected monster from the swamp. You expected a moss man, didn't you? It's clear straight off that Beelzefuzz is a visionary band, from the album cover concept / band logo that had been floating around pretty much since the band's inception to the way they went about introducing themselves with those few scattered bandcamp demos on stream. That all said, the band was not born fully formed from the forehead of Zeus and there are traditional sounds on tap here, they're just not the kind of sounds one might have seen coming. Early 80's metal soaring vocals and melodies in the style of Ronnie James Dio with some touches of Mark II Deep Purple, all draped in the cloak of Maryland Doom. And if we're talking cloaks or drapery, Beelzefuzz doesn't wear the kind of over-long leather duster so fashionable in film since the release of The Matrix, but a sensible denim vest of short compositions that pack as much bite as they do bark.
The opening pair of songs, "Reborn" and "Lotus Jam" maul this particular listener with slavering delight and drag me along the rough ground in the fetal position. There's energy galore, but there's also a strong singular vision (as is true of all Beelzefuzz songs) and also heart. From there, the next pair of tracks hit on slightly more soulful territory and I'm reminded of the idea behind the casting of a particular film. John Carpenter met "Rowdy" Roddy Piper at a Wrestlemania event and said that the reason he cast Piper as the lead in They Live is because he had more life in him than any Hollywood actor. That kind of gets right down to the heart of this genre I love so much called Doom and is especially apparent when it comes to Beelzefuzz.
"Hypnotise" is a good place to start for those not familiar with the band, those who like their doom heavy and traditional. It may be the most accessible song to those who know and love Maryland Doom and it's like. What sets the song apart is its touches of true darkness, when the organ kicks in the music becomes horror in a jugular vein. These dark and spooky castle vibes make their presence felt here and there on the album, but never dominate so much that they spoil the party or become a kind of farce. It's more hinted at that there are ghosts on this album, which creates the thrill of horror, than these spooky sounds popping out from under every loose hanging curtain in the house until the listener becomes desensitized to them. If these haunted and spooky vibes ever find full voice on the album however, it's on the Frankenstein waltz of the sublime "Lonely Creatures". But mostly, Beelzefuzz trucks with a different kind of darkness, seemingly playing up their own band name for instance in the opening buzz-filled moments of "Lotus Jam".
'Beelzefuzz' will be making the rounds of the year-end lists, there's no doubt about it. One of the biggest reasons for this is when the 36 minutes or so of the album are up and the haunting coda of "Light That Binds" finally fades out, it sticks with you. 'Beelzefuzz' demands immediate repeat plays and it bears them well. Beelzefuzz have something of a Cooger and Dark personality with dark carnival vibes found in the swaying rhythms and carousel tempos found on the album. Hints of something sinister lurking around every corner, behind the counter of every booth and hidden beneath every pair of concealing sunglasses. It's a nice place to visit, pay the dime and take the ride, I'm positive you'll be glad you did.
Highlights include: "Lonely Creatures" and "Lotus Jam"
1). Reborn (3:11)
2). Lotus Jam (3:42)
3). All the Feeling Returns (4:47)
4). Sirens Song (3:35)
5). Hypnotise (7:09)
6). Lonely Creatures (5:38)
7). Lunar Blanco (4:39)
8). Light That Binds (3:57)
Total Run Time: 36:34
Darin McCloskey- Drums
Pug Kirby - Bass
Dana Ortt - Guitar/Vocals