The Righteous Doom (way too easy but eh I do what I want!)
Beelzefuzz from Maryland returns with their second full length after some legal troubles involving the name of the band that I will not talk about except to say that I’m glad it’s all resolved. Dana Ortt (guitar, vocals) is now free to continue delivering mesmerizing Maryland doom but this time with a fresh lineup and not a sub-par one, no sir. Formerly a trio, the group is now a quartet and they’re tighter than ever. Ortt is joined by Bert Hall (seminal bassist of Revelation), Greg Diener on guitar (leader of the important and excellent Pale Divine). Darin McCloskey (Pale Divine, Crowned In Earth) returns on the drums. With this new but experienced blood, the band managed to craft one of the best doom albums of the year.
Even if three tracks (2, 3 and 11) from their wonderful 2012 demo are appearing here, it took me a while to notice it since the songs managed to evolve a lot since then and the lush production and the improved musicianship gave them a second life. Beelzefuzz are one of the most peculiar and original bands to ever play American doom and the fact they’re from the doom mecca of America certainly helped forming this new, extremely talented lineup. The compositions of Ortt were already intricate and rich but they’re reaching new levels of beauty with this record. Their mix of classic rock, psychedelic rock and doom metal has always been impressive to me mostly because of how well the songs are constructed. The formula is tight but feels immensely dense with so many layers and sound webs knit together. The addition of a second guitar makes things even more complex and enjoyable but rest assured that they didn’t trade simplicity for technicality, it’s complex in a subtle and emotional way.
Most tracks are pretty short and straightforward but they’re jam packed with content. Only the title track and its previous track called “Nebulous” expanded the sound into truly epic territories. Doom is usually about despair, marginality, religions but those guys are pretty damn uplifting. There’s still some darker melodies involved but the heaviness is a varying concept for them. One thing is sure though, all their riffs are interesting and well written. They play retro rock/metal without trying to, it’s a second nature for them. They’re not trying to fit in in any trends or genres as they jump with ease from psych groovy rock to doom and so on.
The Righteous Bloom is perhaps less immediate, heavy and catchy than their self titled album, it’s a bit more subtle overall as well. Like the colours of its creative cover art, it’s a lighter and more hopeful record than their debut but for me, there’s something that has been lost since the demos, it’s hard to explain why but I felt more at ease with their earlier sound. Nevertheless, this is a solid album.