Friday, 7 June 2013

Lazarus Blackstar/Headless Kross – Split 12”

Lazarus Blackstar/Headless Kross split 12" cover art

Lazarus Blackstar is a Sludge/Doom Metal Band from Bradford, UK

The members are:

Mikhell - Vocals
Lee - Guitars
Izak - Guitars
Bri - Bass
Gordon - Drums

Headless Kross is s Psychedelic Doom Metal Band from Glasgow

The members are:

Derek - Bass & voice
Jonny - Drums
Tommy - Guitar

Lazarus Blackstar/Headless Kross – Split 12”

I’m fairly certain that had I not been given a copy of this split for review, I never would have listened to either Lazarus Blackstar or Headless Kross. This is not to say they aren’t good, it’s just that both bands seemed to evade me over the course of my heavy music discoveries.

Lets do Lazarus Blackstar’s portion first. The band lays down three of the split’s four tracks, and they LAY IT DOWN. While I do enjoy the genres separately, I’m not generally a fan of “blackened doom,” but Lazarus Blackstar have found a way to make the black metal shrieks and doom metal growls almost an ambient backdrop of torment and aggression. Many times, the two vocal ranges play off of one another and intertwine, much like a Black Dahlia Murder record, and it adds to the total doom effect in a major way.

Vocals aside, Lazarus Blackstar are thick as molasses and heavy like an elephant resting on your chest. Their rhythm section punishes in the mix, and I must say it is pretty effective. The drums and bass reign supreme over the songs, giving them an impending doom. The guitar tone should not be overlooked though. It provides quite the punch itself. Massively distorted and buried with low-end fuzz, this group has a trifecta for suffocating doom riffs that seem to pull you farther into the abyss with each note.

I must confess though, the real stand out track on this record (in my humble opinion) is Headless Kross’s one and only contribution to the split, “Deutsch Nepal/Toward the Silver Hand,” a seventeen and a half minute psych doom offering that levels everything in its path.

The track opens with a thick, groovy riff and trudges along, slowly adding psych flourishes as it builds up into a mammoth psych jam. Everyone in the band is on the same page here. The guitars are layered with echo, reverb, and wah. They continue forward while guitars noodle in and out of the composition, keeping the listener ever guessing. At some points during my (many) listens, the song would lose me within my own mind, and I mean that in the best way possible. It’s a sonic journey, much akin to Sleep’s masterwork “Jerusalem/Dopesmoker;” the longer you are in it, the better it is. I invested heavily in the Headless Kross side of the split, and the rewards were tenfold.

I think the most important thing about this side of the split though is definitely the almighty riff. They lay some HERCULEAN riffs down, and I found it impossible not to head bang along with them. The rhythm section perfectly surrounds these riffs to give them a monolithic quality, and the result is nearly perfect. Oh, and I should mention that they work cowbell into their song. (Insert Christopher Walken reference here.) It worked on the song and was quite a “fun” thing to groove along with during a heavy psych-doom jam.

The vocals on “Deutsch Nepal/Toward the Silver Hand” are few and far between, but much like the guitars, they are layered with effects, adding to they psychedelic, spaced out nature of the track. I quite enjoyed how they employed vocals sparingly, using them almost as instrumental solos rather than just singing parts.

Overall, I thought this split was a smoldering heap of doom, definitely worth a listen from any fan of the genre. Lazarus Blackstar introduced me to a version of “blackened doom” that I could sink my teeth into, and Headless Kross permanently converted me into a fan.

I would highly suggest getting a copy as soon as possible. 

Written by Chris Centanni

Thanks to both bands for sending ourselves a copy to review. Much appreciated guys.

You can buy Lazarus Blackstar/Headless Kross – Split 12” now from the bands respective BandCamp Pages.

Check The Band From The Links Below.

Lazarus Blackstar

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Headless Kross

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