Wednesday, August 7, 2013

...Worship the beast in disguise: BRIMSTONE COVEN – ‘Brimstone Coven’

Warm vintage tones and a predilection for dark, occult themes—a seemingly timeless and complementary combination—unite with a groove-infused, proto-metal swing for Brimstone Coven’s hazy self-titled debut. Over the span of seven tracks Brimstone Coven ably explores the realms of hard rock, doom, and laid-back acid jams with quite a heavy nod toward the 70’s. While the band clearly have not set out to reinvent the wheel, they have succeeded in crafting a solid-as-Hell debut due to strong and varied songwriting and some spectacular retro-riffing. Layer the recordings with some catchy vocal melodies and a dose of soul and you have, in a nutshell, a good idea of what you have in store with ‘Brimstone Coven’.
 Fittingly the album opens with “Intro”, a brief, melodic instrumental that sticks around just long enough to pique the listener’s interest before “We are forever” kicks in with an up-tempo, hard-rockin’ groove that would be right at home on the Pentagram compilation ‘First Daze Here’. Though the band clearly has an adoration and respect for 70’s hard rock and early metal, particularly for the bands and sounds that dwell in the shadows on the darker side of the spectrum, it would be hard to dismiss that Pentagram are a major influence. The third track, “The Ancients”, has a hard-driving, galloping rhythm that really showcases the impressive riffing and lead guitar abilities of guitarist and band founder Corey Roth.
 Midway through the album the ‘ludes kick in and Brimstone Coven switches gears for  “Son of the Morning”, a groovy, soporific jam that easily exudes the band’s most soulful performance, both musically and vocally, and stands out as an album highlight. While the track relies heavily on a laid-back groove, the song still revs up to a frantic pace that is punctuated by some impressive drumming and bluesy, post-comedown, leads. The following track, “LoSt in the oDyssey”, doesn’t quite reach the same heights as “Son of the Morning”, but it still effectively contributes to the change in pace and tone on the album. “Children of the Sun”, the final “proper” song of the album, reverts back to the darker doom vibes of both “We are forever” and “The Ancients”. It’s another upbeat burner that finds the band locked into some serious groove.
 Brimstone Coven have released a solid, vintage-sounding record that is sure to please fans of occult hard rock and doom. While it’s unfortunate (and lazy) to simply label Brimstone Coven as a “retro” band, it’s probably also unavoidable due to the band’s influences and their debut album’s production. Apparently the band is already working on their follow-up and I, for one, can’t wait to hear the results.  The band’s debut is about to get the vinyl treatment courtesy of STB records.
 Words: Steve Miller

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