Friday, 18 October 2013

Fangs of the Molossus - ST (album review)

Artwork by Count J. Vendetta (rhythm guitar, space fx)
You might look at Fangs of Molossus as a true underground band.  No bandcamp, no record deal, no fake hype, just a word of mouth that sets torch to dry brush and conquers forests.  'Fangs of the Molossus' is a classic doom record, no frills, no bullshit, just some giant riffs and ill portents.  I don't know too much about the band and though it gives me less to blab about, that's just the way I like it.  I know they are Italian, I know they are four in number, I know they were graced with guest appearances by Ain Soph Aour and JC Chaos of the Italian black metal band Necromass, and I know that this album is pretty damn good.  That's what I know.

From the opening fuzz heavy guitar wallop and Iommian hammer-ons of "Caligula", you know what you're getting yourself into.  This is doom.  And you know what doom is like.  It's like trying to run through muddy waters.  Prepared to be covered from head to foot.  "Caligula" is an iconic opener, a single word lyric makes it nearly an instrumental.  This is some of the swampiest stuff you'll ever hear.  A dilapidated shack sits ghostly atop the mist covered waters of a swamp.  A single light burns inside illuminating the thin trees outside the windows.  Inside, loud repetitive banging is heard and it's then that you know old tyrants never die, they become demons to haunt the thoughts and influence the deeds of men.  That's my impression of this track, at least.

The band's psychedelic fixation provides the disc with plentiful elbow room in the form of atmospheric passages.  This penchant begins subtly in the opener, developed within each song and is given full expression in the spaghetti western instrumental "O Fera Flagella".  Even with this spacious approach (the latter instrumental is the shortest track on the disc at 6:36), Fangs maintain their groove.  It's easy for a band to lose their way in a song with long improvised sections, Fangs turn it into a strength.  Through it all though, that doom groove is what remains embedded in the skull when the final moments tick off the end of closing track "Dead King Rise".  Fangs of the Molossus lead you through a viscid, fire-lit tunnel of horrors, and the ride never lets up, even when things go relatively quiet.

And now a word on the vocals.  Acid King Khanjia is the man behind the mic stand on this disc, but has since departed from the band.  The duties were subsequently passed to lead guitarist Amp Zilla.  Khanjia for his part provides a rough flourish to the affair and though I've not heard his replacement Zilla on the mic, he will be missed.  He was assisted by Ain Soph Aour on "I Drink Your Blood", the very Sleep-like melody is appropriately blood stained in its performance by both vocalists.

So without the bandcamp page or the label backing orthe hype, there's only one place to go to get your hands on this disc and that's the band itself.  If you can't make it a Fangs of the Molossus gig and pick up a CD in person, there are a couple other methods of diffusion.  If you have a facebook account, you can send them a private message of inquiry at this page, and if you don't, you can email them at jonvendetta@alice.it.  No need to be shy or wary, the Count is a very cool guy and pleasant to deal with.  I'm extremely glad I picked up a copy and it's just one more piece of evidence that 2013 is the year of the Italians.

Highlights include: "I Drink Your Blood" and "Caligula"

Rating: 4/5


Tracklist:
1). Caligula (7:54)
2). Cult of the Witch Goddess (8:03)
3). I Drink Your Blood (7:14)
4). O Fera Flagella (6:36)
5). Dead King Rise (10:09)
Total Run Time: 39:56

Amp Zilla - vox, guitar & space FX
Count J. Vendetta - guitar & space FX
Daemon Nox - bass
Iako - drums

Acid King Khanjia (vocals on record, now departed)

From: Florence, Italy

Genre: Doom, Psychedelic

Reminds me of: Doomraiser, Sleep

Release Date: July 21, 2013

Fangs of the Molossus on facebook

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