Released: 2006, Baphomet/Red Stream
Reviewer: Gabriel C. Zolman
I consider myself a modest expert at deciphering band logos, but I’ll be honest—I had no fucking clue what the name of this band was. I didn’t get a press sheet, so I had to google the barely-legible album title to divine what these guys were even called. Quite frankly, if this wasn’t on Red Stream (a label I trust), I wouldn’t have even bothered with it…
So imagine my surprise when I found out that this is, in fact, the more visible output of The Reverend JR Preston—he of Blood Cult fame. Blood Cult are Midwestern Black Metal curiosities—legends, even. So how does this stack up?
Psychedelic Black Metal with sort-of symphonic elements, this really does possess its own psychotic identity (and really, for anything to be more psychotic than Blood Cult takes some serious hallucinogens). It’s just different and bizarre enough to hold the listener’s interest, and frequently at its best when balancing its more off-kilter moments alongside more straight-ahead BM thrashers (ala “Tjolgtjarium Ritual”). Unfortunately, there are some weaknesses: the vocals are way too high in the mix, and the drums frequently sound like someone held a microphone up to a television, wherein someone on TV was actually playing the drums. That aside, the whacked-out breakdown in “The Ceremony Of Tjolgtjar” pretty much says it all: this is bizarre and unsavory, yet still appropriately evil as shit. Ultimately, this is America’s lo-fi answer to Sigh, by way of Vondur. You will love it or hate it, and if you’re ‘shrooming hard enough, you might manage to accomplish both at once. Download “Exorcism Spell” (which is probably most representative of the album’s overall sound), and tell me you’ve heard anything exactly like it…