Friday, 22 November 2013

Brimstone Coven - II (album review)

Cover artwork by Creighton Hill.
I missed the boat first time around.  West Virginian quartet Brimstone Coven released their self-titled debut album on bandcamp in March of last year and it flew right past me like a bullet in The Matrix.  I heard the album but it didn't quite capture my imagination.  I don't think I was quite ready for what they were laying down.  What can I say, I'm Canadian, and I may be a bit slow, eh?  Well, I'm here now, the bandwagon doesn't look so lonely and the caravan is rolling by slowly enough for one such as myself to hop aboard.  On their second go round, the band has tinkered, tweaked, turned on and toyed with their already distinctive sound, extending melody, protracting groove and exploding harmony in every which way.

In my extremely limited and slow-brainded understanding of things, the band's distinctive sound is created by interweaving two main factors (not counting the vagaries of the individual creativity of the players):  Scandanavian-style Retro Rock and the regional sound we call Maryland Doom.  When I listen to 'II' I hear things in common with such diverse bands as Iron Man, Revelation, Beelzefuzz, Mountain Witch, Year of the Goat and even pieces of Seremonia.  Now, I'm sure that wasn't Brimstone Coven's master plan when they hatched the idea to form a band, it was probably something more like,
"Wanna jam?"
Then they did, and magic happened.  Eventually.  Nobody gets in exactly right the first time.  But at some point, something unique took place.

Anyway, the album kicks off with a song called "Cosmic Communion".  It's got a nice riff which will feel familiar to those who dug on the first album.  Where the album and the band itself sticks out is during the chorus and subsequent verses.  A cool, almost robotic harmony lends an incredibly distinctive voice (voices) to the affair and sets the pace for the album to follow.

The band kind of splits its time between midtempo rockers and quieter numbers.  "Behold, The Annunaki", "Blood on the Wall" and "Lord and Master" fall under this latter category.  A slight country western vibe trickles in on the slower ones, particularly on "Blood on the Wall" which starts with a slow rambling guitar, growing piece by piece into one of the heavier songs on the album.  Still, there's that rambling cowboy feel throughout and it shines a spotlight on the quiet-loud dynamics the band bring to the table.

Arguably, the most interesting song on the album is "The Black Door".  Though the word "interesting" might be a dubious one, I think it's the one that applies here and I apply it in the positive sense.  The song hits you on multiple levels and you may have several contradictory reactions to the song on the first couple spins.  It's one of those songs, it's somewhat challenging in a way.  The opening line of the verse is reversed and plays right before the song kicks in.  The effect is whip-like and it sends the listener into a strange world smothered in Brimstone Coven's now trademark monotone close harmony.  The band are no strangers to backwards music as the outro to their last album plummeted into a backwards soundscape that left the listener with eerie feelings.  I love backwards music.  I used to flip whole Beatles albums around and listen to them backwards from back to front.  I remember one warm and windy night in spring when I walked the empty streets of Richmond listening to 'Magical Mystery Tour' backwards.  It seemed like the most unwholesome activity in the entire world.  Brimstone Coven understands this.  The English language is abrupt and unnatural sounding to begin with and when flipped backwards the sound of it becomes positively demonic.  This is the spirit the dudes from the Coven bring to their records.

Brimstone Coven's sophomore record is full of epic moments and occult-y moods, perhaps best exemplified by the track.  The band describes their own sound as "dark occult rock" and though that label may be charged with different meanings for different people, BC's particular take on the occult tag is at the very least researched and not overtly exploitative.  "Behold, the Annunaki" exemplifies all of these qualities and so becomes a kind of anthem for the band and for the record itself, but any of the first four tracks in particular are all standouts and manage to be quite different from each other.  This is an impressive record that hits you on several levels.

Highlights include: "Behold, The Annunaki" and "Cosmic Communion"

Rating: 4/5

Total Run Time: 46:37

"Big John" Williams - vocals
Corey Roth - guitar
Andrew D'Cagna - bass
Dan Hercules - drums

From: Wheeling, West Virginia

Genre: Doom, Rock

Reminds me of: Beelzefuzz, Blizaro, Bloody Hammers, Mountain Witch, Year of the Goat

Release Date: November 2, 2013

Brimstone Coven on facebook


  1. I very rarely see such kind of interesting and informative post about new videos..Thanks indeed for sharing I was searching similar type of information.Its quite informative and i have learn so many new things .Realy black door is so nice album.
    Album Reviews

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