Review by Paul Castles
Release date: 5 August 2014
Brimstone Coven’s psychedelic jaunt into the world of witchcraft makes the Ouija Board a considerably more appealing afternoon’s work than a game of Cluedo. Forget Colonel Mustard and his cronies and throw a double six in the direction of Brimstone Coven instead. This album is a persuasively potent trip into the dark arts. This self-titled release is the band’s second in three years and this certainly has the pulling power to see Brimstone Coven’s trajectory travel in an upward direction.
‘Cosmic Communion’ is a feisty opener that veers from Blood Ceremony-style sounds of Satan through to perfectly moulded high temp harmonies straight from the Chilli Peppers’ handbook. Song titles such as ‘Blood on the Wall’ and ‘The Grave’ confirm the West Virginia’s passion for the occult and the darker side of life, with the latter layered with evil. What the titles alone fail to reflect though is the mellow grooves and spirit lifting rhythms that breathe energy into this pulsating release. Tracks such as ‘The Black Door’ see the harmonies brought together with sufficient distinction to even impress the choirmaster Gareth Malone.
While not a traditional doom band they do walk a more weighty path on the likes of ‘Lord and Master’ where the strings are slowly plucked into life against a funereal beat which gradually winds itself into a surly beast that chases its tail into a helter-skelter state of apoplexy. ‘Big John’ Williams has a great voice and a really easy to warm to vocal style that just draws you right in while there are some beautifully woven guitar solos in the mix too. The sound is a conglomeration of various iconic 70s artists such as Pink Floyd, Sabbath and the Zepps, but while unashamedly creating a vintage ambience, Brimstone Coven manage to do so in a fresh and vibrant way. There is no need to dust down the cobwebs from this release.
The album features 10 new tracks with some remastered previously released material tagged on the end, making it 17 tracks in all. The last of the ‘new’ songs is ‘The Folly of Faust’, the longest on the album at just over seven minutes. Opening with a sultry smoky vibe, this number continues to roll along quite effortlessly with a transcendental glow through which Big John’s soothing tones caress you gently through. The slightly older bonus material is just as engaging. ‘The Ancients’ has a pacey riff running through it with some neat time changes and solos thrown in.
Although easy listening, there’s a lot going on here and the more you put in the more you’ll take out. The whole package lasts an hour and after 60 minutes around the Coven you’ll come out feeling better than when you went in. Oh yeah, the artwork’s great too!
8 out of 10
- Cosmic Communion
- Behold, The Anunnaki
- The Black Door
- Blood On The Wall
- The Grave
- Lord & Master
- The Séance
- Hades Hymn
- The Folly Of Faust
- Intro (Bonus Track)
- We Are Forever (Bonus Track)
- The Ancients (Bonus Track)
- Son Of The Morning (Bonus Track)
- Lost In The Odyssey (Bonus Track)
- Children Of The Sun (Bonus Track)
- Outro (Bonus Track)