Tuesday 21 July 2020

Blessed Black - Beyond The Crimson Throne

Labels: Self-Released

Formats: CD/Digital

Release Date: 17 Jan 2020


1. The White Wolf

2. The Black Gate

3. Heavy Is The Crown

4. The Shadows

5. Arioch's Bargain

6. Finding The Limits

7. Stormbringer

This year isn't going to be anywhere near normal so you might as well embrace the music that's been released already. Cincinnati, Ohio (USA) stoner/doom/heavy metal band Blessed Black self-released their debut album back in January and it's been on my review list for a little while. I'm just sorry it's taken me so long to write about it. The album cover screams Black Sabbath, Graveyard and Haunt vibes amongst other influences, so here's hoping it comes close.

It’s been ages since I’ve featured this brand of stoner/doom, but I’m glad I’ve gravitated to it this evening. The initial riffs of album opener ‘The White Wolf’ sound strangely familiar (they sound a little bit like a post-hardcore/rock song I like. Can't remember the song title or band name though!). This is a really solid instrumental song with huge riffs and percussion, as well as those melodic tones that fill me with nostalgia.

‘The Black Gate’ is equally as big in the riff department and you’d be forgiven for thinking that Blessed Black are an instrumental band, but they’re not. Around the sixty-second mark the vocals kick in with a soaring melodic tone that might be a little filtered, but that fits the music perfectly. This album reminds me of how much I’ve been neglecting the stoner metal sub-genre of late. There’s something about Blessed Black’s sound on ‘Heavy Is The Crown’ that brings back memories of the heyday of bands like Saliva (before nu-metal became a dirty word) and before slick melody was shunned. Either way, this is great and I’m gonna champion it for sure.

The mid-point of Beyond The Crimson Throne brings you ‘The Shadows’ and this is where the band’s traditional heavy metal chops show though, thanks to some great twin-guitar melodies amongst other things. Yes it’s more rooted in modern times but you can’t argue with those hooks! Things get a little more progressive on ‘Arioch’s Bargain’ but don’t worry, as Blessed Black don’t abandon their groove or catchiness one bit. As they’ve already proven, longer songs don’t mean noodling or loss of momentum and that is made all the more clear here. 

Penultimate song ‘Finding The Limits’ is a slower, more contemplative number in parts. It’s grittier and definitely the most balled-like song, if that’s the right description (I presume not, but I’m rolling with it anyway). Musically it’s extremely well delivered, as is the whole album. Album closer ‘Stormbringer’ builds like the earlier songs on Beyond The Crimson Throne and it’s a joyous way to end the record. Heavy and alternative music is always evolving and/or revolving back to where it began and both are right when talking about Blessed Black. They’re bringing a modern touch to a sound that’s familiar and comforting, especially to those who grew up with melodic rock as a gateway to darker/heavier things.

You can stream 'Beyond The Crimson Throne' and buy it on CD or digitally below:-

Blessed Black - https://www.facebook.com/blessedblackdoom/

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