This latest Head of Crom release featuring Lazarus Blackstar and Headless Kross is a clash of style that provides light and shade to showcase the depth and dexterity of the underground music in the UK at the moment.
Bradford’s Lazarus Blackstar emerged some nine years ago from the band Khang and have steadily produced a number of EPs and three full length slabs of slow, heavy, grimy doom. They dominate this split with three of the four tracks – ‘Crawl’ (demo), ‘Flesh For The Coffin’ and ‘Palestine’.
As with previous outings the band waste little time in going for the jugular with their Crust influenced brand of down tuned nastiness. The band can be as slow as a continental drift, but combine slo-mo Sabbath style riffing with spiteful strangled vocals. All three tracks clock in around the six minute mark – pounding and lurching their way through some impressive displays of brutality.
Track two is noteworthy, not only for the impressive twin vocal dual that sees venomous screams mixed with a raging, guttural roar, but also because it features the talents of Alicia Morgan who formerly shared a band with one Liz Buckingham, who of course now pummels the senses in Electric Wizard.
For all the expected Eyehategod influenced sludge there are also plenty of ideas to stop this being formulaic. ‘Palestine’ is a track awash with ominous sampled voices, lurching riffs and the crashing rhythmic hammering of the drums. Clearly maintaining momentum from last year’s ‘Hymns For The Cursed’, Lazarus Blackstar demand you pay them attention.
With just the one track you could be forgiven for thinking that Scotland’s Headless Kross are selling themselves short. However their contribution to the split is the 18 minute track ‘The Silver Hand’, an epic adaptation of Amon Düül II’s ‘Deutsch Nepal’; an incredible sonic journey, this track is as impressive as it is expansive. Contrasting with Blackstar, this is at times deceptively gentle and swirling, groovy and progressive.
Their take on Doom is tinged with psychedelic guitar work, tribal drumming and huge bass breakdowns. Largely instrumental, the sporadic faint, effect distorted vocals help set the scene for the urgent nature of the music as it builds towards breaking point, then dropping off and taking the listener in another direction. The whole monster of a track finishes on a passage of mellow, peaceful prog that provides the perfect comedown from not only their track but the fury of the three before it.
Split releases are a great vehicle to showcase your talent to other bands fanbases and vice versa. It can often be a leap of faith, but here the two bands, despite their different interpretations of the genre, compliment each other exceptionally well.
This is definitely worth checking out (stream below) and you can grab the vinyl from Head Of Crom now.
Label: Head Of Crom Records
Lazarus Blackstar: www.facebook.com/pages/lazarus-blackstar/20589373181
Headless Kross: www.facebook.com/headlesskross
Scribed by: Mark Hunt-Bryden