In a scene full of witches and wizards, sometimes it’s good to be a druid. These Denver doomsters may not stray too far from the beaten path (they do have a song called “Nightfall,” after all), but their crunchy doom tones still satisfy on their 74-minute(!) Earache Records debut.
“Pale Blood Sky” kicks things off with a riff straight out of the Sleep playbook, complete with an airy, soaring vocal that makes you think they’re female fronted… but they’re not. Things speed up a bit past the 3:30 mark, for about a minute or so, though this is very much still something you can slow-mo headbang to.
From there, things get mellower and trippier with “Agoraphobia,” the second-longest song at a shade under 14 minutes. This one’s got some of the oriental textures of OM, albeit without all of the Middle-Eastern trappings. You can still file it under “Doom,” although they also throw in a couple slow-mo sludge-metal riffs around the five-minute mark, before things get all atmospheric and texture-y for a bit, kinda reminding me of Shooting Guns in the process. I will admit that this song drags on a little too long, before a heavy sludge riff and Weedeater vocal kicks in for the final two minutes. The creeping, meandering, 10-minute “Dead Tree” reminds me of Electric Wizard’s second-last album, as do portions of “Rebirth” and “Ritual Sacrifice,” which is probably not a bad thing.
But hey, we ain’t heard nothing yet. “Cursed Blood” clocks in at a whopping 18 and a half minutes, starting off with another very Sleepy riff, crawling along Dopesmoker style for a while, adding an underwater vocal along with some stop-start riffage. This is one long song that doesn’t feel like such a long slog.