Blizaro—City of the Living Nightmare

By Rob Hughes

Blizaro is an absurd and wonderful entity. It’s telling that this album appears to be a one-man act, with John Gallo from Orodruin playing everything except for a touch of cello and percussion. I can imagine him posting an ad at the Guitar Center—“Wanted: musicians into Italian horror soundtracks and proto doom metal”—and then spending the following weeks sitting by the silent phone. Although recent updates indicate Blizaro now has a full lineup, it doesn’t diminish the fact that this is an unlikely enterprise, hell-bent on freaking us out. (I know Gruesome Greg and Sean are already fans.)

On City of the Living Nightmare (dig that Fulci-esque title), Blizaro hit us with everything at once. Forget about easing the listener in; disorientation is immediate. The opening title track is a mini-epic featuring synthesized choirs, thrashing twin lead guitars, and church organs; it even squeezes in a sort-of-funk section. Stuff like this defies a tidy formula, but perhaps I can express the band as an equation: (Talent + Imagination) – (Logic + inhibition) = Blizaro.

“In the Basement of St. Jerome’s” and “Finale Incanta” are pure spaghetti horror soundtrack, full of creeping dread. “Midnight Lurkers” is a cool doom rocker with scuzzy tones and wicked lead guitar. “Eyes in the Caskets” is in a similar vein, as is “Mental Disease Overture,” which starts as a grimy ’70s bikes ’n’ denim anthem before transforming into a demented bolero in its second half. “Catacomb Man” is a sanity-challenging collage of themes and eerie tinkling that evokes the slimy dwelling of some sewer-dwelling homunculus. Finally, there’s a cover of Goblin’s Suspiria theme to send us screaming into the night. Although it sounds a little ramshackle and low budget at times, this only adds to the charm of the enterprise. Gallo has executed his twisted musical vision brilliantly. If you like your doom proggy and your prog doomy, don’t hesitate to step into the psychotronic world of Blizaro.

(Razorback)

Sean Palmerston

Sean is the founder/publisher of Hellbound.ca; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.