Alastor – Black Magic

Rating

There are actually eight different metal bands called Alastor—without counting Lord Alastor or Sauts Alastor—so finding information on this specific outfit can be a bit of a challenge. This particular Alastor hails from Sweden, and are made more mysterious by the fact that each band member goes by a single initial. Not sure if I should call this an EP or a proper full-length, with three tracks spanning over 34 minutes, but in any case, it is their debut recording.

Black Magic opens with “Enemy,” a nearly 12-minute slab of slow ‘n heavy stoner doom. The extended, fuzzed-out intro brings Sleep to mind, before crawling along at a snail’s pace à la early Electric Wizard. The vocals are buried under so many layers of fuzz and reverb to be rendered unintelligible, not to mention not being mixed high enough to cut through the think, swampy layers of head-nodding riffage. For all I know, they could be singing in Swedish…

“Nothing to Fear” clocks in at just over seven-and-a-half minutes, and is slightly more up-tempo, which equally sludgy and crunchy. The nasal vocals cut through the mix a bit more on this one, and it’s clear they’re influenced by Jus Oborn. The riff that first kicks in around the six-minute mark is a real doozy!

The 14+ minute title track closes things out, with a somewhat sludgier attack more akin to Weedeater or Zoroaster. Nothing sludgy about the vocals, mind you. This one does tend to drag on a bit, as can be expected from a number of this length. It slows to a bass-driven crawl around the 8:30 mark, before they stomp on the distortion pedal as the band joins in at a much slower tempo than before, as the vocals cut across the mix more clearly than ever before, thoroughly describing what happens when you practice black magic. Overall, while I can’t give ‘em too many points for originality, this is a highly listenable release…whether you call it an album or an EP.

Gruesome Greg

Seahawks/Stamps/Flames/Zags/Jays/Raptors fan and lifelong metal head with a beer gut and a self-deprecating sense of humour. Reviewer/blogger (Yon Senior Doomsayer) for Hellbound.ca.

7.0 Rating