Five sacrifices to the queen of bats.
There is a mystique about the early days of heavy metal, a sort of post-psychedelic magic that makes it conducive to fantastical storytelling. Among the latest adherents to the ongoing way of metal traditionalism that has culminated in the NWOTHM is an act dubbed Entierro that, interestingly enough, formerly dabbled in the parallel stoner/doom scene that has been quite active of late. Their signature sound since this stylistic pivot could best be likened to a crossroads between the old school stylings of British acts such as Tank, Holocaust and Tokyo Blade, with an occasional side order of Thin Lizzy’s dueling guitar harmonies at time, culminating in something comparable to early forerunner to the old school heavy metal revial Slough Feg.
Following a solid showing on their 2018 debut and eponymous LP, this quartet opted to go in a conceptual direction on their follow up EP, now with former Fates Warning guitarist Victor Arduini joining the fold in channeling the old ways. The resulting quartet of original songs with a solid Judas Priest cover in tow that is “El Camazotz” is named for the Mayan bat god associated with night, death and sacrifice, a fitting subject for a throwback to the days when heavy metal was almost exclusively obsessed with the occult. Playing off a rustic and barebones production approach that accentuates a fuzzily distorted guitar tone and a loose feel to the accompanying rhythm section that is fairly reminiscent of early 80’s Cirith Ungol, every moment of this rough-edged yet catchy excursion into Central American mythology is made to order for the atmosphere it seeks to accomplish.
In a sense, it could be argued that this outfit hasn’t fully abandoned its former doom metal sound with this release. For instance, right from the onset of the opening mid-paced brute “The Penance”, the principle riff has a hint of doom flavoring to it, though apart from a guitar solo segment that sounds partly Tony Iommi-inspired, it is dispensed with for something a bit more driving and harmonically rich. By contrast, “The Tower” dabbles in a gravely slow pace that could be qualified as tilting towards a traditional doom sound, but the dueling guitar harmonies that are along for the slow ride and the galloping riff work that follows has a pretty blatant Iron Maiden bent to them. “The Past” pretty much leaves the subtle doom tendencies entirely for more of a Diamond Head approach, and jumps the tempo up considerably at the tail end, while the closer and title sound goes full on Judas Priest mode and showcases some speed metal proclivities.
Overall, this is the sort of album that screams throwback more so than anything else, though the original songs do a good job of mixing things up rather than dwelling on just one aspect of the early 80s. The Judas Priest cover that closes things off as highly competently realized, though vocalist Chris Taylor’s huskier voice makes it sound more like how it might have been interpreted by Tank in 1982 rather than a carbon copy of the original. It’s a fitting inclusion that demonstrates both how ahead of their time Judas Priest was in 1977 when they put out “Sin After Sin,” and also how many different ways a classic can potentially be reinterpreted. Those who have been enthralled with the still growing movement of old school metal revival acts of late will find this wanting for little.
Released By: Independent
Released On: June 18th, 2021
Genre: Doom Metal
- Dave Parmalee / Drums
- Christopher Taylor Beaudette / Vocals, Bass
- Chris Begnal / Guitars
- Victor Arduini / Guitars
“El Camazotz” track listing:
- The Penance
- The Tower
- The Past
- El Camazotz
- Call for the Priest (Judas Priest cover)
The ranks of the still burgeoning New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal are expanded once more, as a former stoner/doom quartet out of Connecticut offers up four early metal-inspired anthems and one competent tribute to the growing pot of solid traditionalism.