ALBUM REVIEW: Black Capricorn ‘Cult Of Black Friars’

blackcapricorn

BLACK CAPRICORN
‘Cult Of Black Friars’
Stone Stallion Rex
Released: 1 November 2014
5/10

Two witches and one warlock from Cagliari, Italy, make up Black Capricorn, and between them they create slow, swirling doom metal that is dark and relentless. ‘Cult Of Black Friars’ is often hypnotising – the fuzzy guitars of Fabrizio Monni crawl along with a creeping insistence, while his vocals are grim and echoing.

At first, it sounds as if this might be a fantastic album of ritualistic, epic doom. However, as it progresses, ‘Cult Of Black Friars’ drifts along to the point where it ceases to be challenging or original enough to maintain a listener’s full attention. Some parts of the album are really successful, merging aspects of Jex Thoth, Candlemass and Alice In Chains. And there are some deliciously groovy moments, as well as lots of hard-hitting heaviness. But the riffs are simply too obvious and under-developed to make a lasting impression.

Black Capricorn are inspired by some pretty cool stuff – from manga to Italian movies – and they utilise these at various times in the form of audio samples and book extracts in order to keep you guessing. The track ‘Animula Vagula Blandula’ kicks off with a beautiful, mournful flute-focused intro section, but the promised intrigue fails to materialise. Instead, another rather basic, uninspiring song unfolds before the flute is re-introduced, slightly clumsily, later on. The track is built on an intriguing idea and has great promise but it does not quite deliver.

The band has light-heartedly described the album’s final, acoustic song ‘To The Shores Of Distant Stars’ as “Black Sabbath meets Pink Floyd”, but in truth Black Capricorn come nowhere close to echoing the deep emotional trenches that those two great bands explore, lacking the sophistication to embark on such memorable adventures. On this, their third release, the Italian band – who have been together since 2007 – create a dark, magical atmosphere but, aside from a few fleeting moments of quality, their music rarely binds together into a convincing or cohesive whole.

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