Review: “Seasons: Vol. 1” by Blessed Black

The first of a series of EPs planned for both 2023 and 2024 release, “Seasons: Vol. 1” marks the debut of ex-Smoke Healer guitarist Jake Stone in Heavy Doom quartet Blessed Black as the band explores themes of existentialism, grief, healing, and rediscovery. Founded by vocalist and guitarist Joshua Murphy of War Curse fame alongside drummer Ray Bates in 2018, they were joined by bassist Brad Bellamy (Black Tractor, Phantom Queen) a year later before releasing debut EP “Beyond The Crimson Throne” in 2020. Sonically, the band cite influences in Black Sabbath, Danzig and Graveyard to name but a few, with Murphy stating that this newly established line-up and shift in direction to a sound is more in line with his original vision…

Infusing Doom riff rhythmic power with 70’s-esque organ leads “Hellbender” muses on how everything is temporal and just how easy it is to lose sight of the important things in life. A spellbinding solo from Stone raises things from the melancholia momentarily, this rich food for the soul having similar roots to Spirit Adrift but with a greater emotive quality and a greater depth of feeling. “Obsidian” then explores the search to find yourself again after experiencing tragedy, loss and grief, Murphy’s soaring vocals having all the warmth and none of the introspection, thus ensuring the lyrics resonate with anyone who has been on that journey down the left hand path and lived to tell the tale. Sonically once again the band keep things tight and classically Traditional Metal styled with Doom overtones, leaning on those influences but creating something distinctively their own with musicianship that is sublime. The third chapter in this holy trinity is just as deep and equally as timeless, “Unable” a tale about how hard it is to watch friends and loved ones lose themselves to addiction. A narrative which again touches the heart and strikes the nerve, resonating with the life experiences of an older generation while the rich solos add a virtuoso touch to the mid tempo sonic weight. A fade to a lone acoustic guitar adds a little more nostalgic charm, this first record an amuse bouche that will have you craving more of this brooding atmospheric magic [7.5/10]

Track Listing

  1. Hellbender
  2. Obsidian
  3. Unable

Seasons: Vol. 1” by Blessed Black is out 1st September 2023 and will be available over at bandcamp.

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