Band: Blessed Black
Title: Beyond The Crimson Throne
Release date: 17 January 2020
Format reviewed: Digital Promo
Straight out of Cincinnati is BLESSED BLACK, a relatively new quartet whose brand of doom metal is highlighted by an extra dose of adrenaline. The band’s debut EP, “Beyond the Crimson Throne” delivers seven powerful, riff-driven tracks across 35 minutes, and is more reminiscent of latter-day doom champions (like Grand Magus and The Sword) than the genre’s originators.
Furthermore, BLESSED BLACK refreshingly demonstrates an ability to deliver doom without the typical lyrical gloom. The worn out topics of death, the occult and demon lore are largely cast aside here. The band’s more intense approach is complemented by exploring themes of greed, power, fantasy, and history.
“Heavy Is The Crown” is a standout track that has all the hallmarks of a powerful metal mission statement, as it delves into the consequences of power and responsibility. As singer Joshua Murphy belts: “If you want to sit on the throne then you must find some way to prove your worth / You must find a way to gain trust / Show us what you deserve.”
The song goes on a two-minute instrumental journey starting from the 2:48 mark, first revisiting the opening theme, and then giving the rhythm section their rightful time in the spotlight before the crushing and spacey dual guitar solos reenter, a la Corrosion of Conformity.
BLESSED BLACK may have recently emerged but one of its members already had a solid reputation in the metal community. Devoted thrash and metal fans may recognize Murphy’s name; the frontman and guitarist brings a plethora of experience as a guitarist in the accomplished thrash metal band, War Curse. Murphy’s voice is strong and solid as his delivery is that of a controlled shout.
The songs do not vary much, and though Murphy manages to demonstrate a bit of range within his register. A glimpse of his abilities out of the comfort zone develop via some vocal harmonizing during the chorus of “Stormbringer”:
“Eternal, we can wander forever / Together across these lands / An alliance between us / Forged in battle from the souls of the damned.”
BLESSED BLACK appears to be taking their time and assembling their best songs in between other commitments; “Stormbringer” and “The Black Gate” had previously been available digitally and were re-released for this EP.
And while the band is not revolutionizing the genre, they are admirably taking its slightly less traveled road by peppering their sound with dashes of traditional metal and even punk. If a full-length follow-up can reach the potential marked here, they may one day find themselves upon a throne of their own making. 8/10 Justin Smulison
8/10 To Greatness and Glory!
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