ALBEZ DUZ - Wings Of Tzinacan
Plenty of bands are doing the "occult doom rock" thing - Albez Duz don't deny it and refer to themselves as such - but not nearly as many are making it even halfway interesting. This Berlin-based trio are clearly inspired by the early masters (Sabbath, Candlemass, etc.) yet have plenty of other varied sources to draw musical direction from. Wings Of Tzinacan opens with gothy organ and St. Vitus riffs from the abyss in "The Uprising" before vocalist Alfonso Brito makes his strong, central presence known. Brito's voice was destined for the epic sounds Albez Duz produces; he has Ronnie James Dio's triumphant range matched to the emotive baritone sorrow found in the work of Pete Steele and Nick Holmes. Opening any album with a ten-minute journey through multiple styles and modes is always a risk, but "The Uprising" pays off well.
"Reflections" further solidifies the Paradise Lost/Tiamat connection, matching guitarist Julia Neuman's deliberate doom riffing to Brito's mournful, haunted-castle pleas. "Our Lord, The Flayed One" lets loose with some straight-forward 4/4 hard rock, recalling Pentagram at their First Daze Here best. While Albez Duz does have a tendency to wear their influences on a collective (and extremely metal) sleeve, it's never mindless worship. "Our Lord, The Flayed One" dips into a psychedelic break replete with growls and a gnarly solo before returning to its relatively standard structure. Deep cut "Death Whistle" grows from a sparse, autumnal soundscape into a nightmare of thundering drums and ghostly spoken-word incantations; if you're looking for a fresh addition to the annual Halloween playlist, this is required listening.
Wings Of Tzinacan is not a hard listen by any stretch, but it is definitely dense: a truly multi-genre work that necessitates multiple listens to appreciate everything the band is doing. Many of the songs progress in conscious movements, with carefully planned beginnings and ends; a hallmark of masterful craftsmanship. Three albums in, it sounds very much like Albez Duz is hitting their stride.
Wings Of Tzinacan will be released October 28 on Listenable Records. Preorder bundles are available HERE.