Maryland psych doom rock prog merchants, Beelzefuzz, have released their second album, the follow up to their 2013 self titled effort. The intervening years have seen the band break up, return under a new moniker, The Righteous Bloom, then readopt their original band name (post court case) for this release, whilst using the previous band name as the album title!
The Righteous Bloom (album title not band name) is epic in scope and at times awesome in delivery, take note, this is no exercise in the fundamentals, these guys stretch themselves and write interesting, thoughtful tunes throughout…but are they going to be your cup of tea, is there enough on here to capture your attention for the whole album? Well, for mine, the jury is still out.
There’s something a little Geddy Lee like about the vocals of Dana Ortt, which might put some listeners off. The level of musicianship throughout though is outstanding, the boys know how to work a riff and wring everything they possibly can out of it!
The opening one two punch of Nazriff, playfully throwing a shout out to one of the band’s influences Nazareth, and The Soulless thump along in a horns up salute to metal, the bands newest member, Bert Hall, thumpin’ Geezer like bass lines throughout.
But then the next couple of tunes, Hardluck Melody and the brilliantly named Rat Poison Parfait, slow things down a little, the album kinda loses a little impetus for me about now. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with the tunes they just leave me a little underwhelmed compared to what came before.
The album kinda continues in this vein, ‘most of the time’, there’s the rippers throughout – for example Nebulous and Dying On The Vine, then the tunes where I get distracted and just kinda forget what I’m listening to. But then a couple of days later I’ll have another listen and those same songs I wasn’t that keen on will ‘click’, so ‘most of the time’.
You know that moment when you’ve had one too many beers , and you want to head bang but any enthusiastic movement will have you up chucking quicker than you can say ‘oohh, I’ve had one too many’ so you settle for a more deliberate half time head bang? Much of this album has that kind of vibe (the slower head bang, not the up chuck) and maybe that’s why I’m not listening to the album as a whole, it can seem kind of monotonous in its tempo.
Aside from Nazareth, you’ll also pick up on nods to bands like Sabbath, Queen, Thin Lizzy, Budgie, Yes, Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree. I can’t reiterate this enough, the album as a whole is something you’ll appreciate more if you’re ‘really’ listening to it, don’t put it on at a party, get blazed and listen to it, it’s too interesting to be background music.
The greatest strength of this album is that the more you listen to it the more you’ll discover, you may just need to give it the time to develop and grow on you, or it might be something you listen to a couple of times and it has you by the short and curlies. Either way, well worth a listen, at least once, well a couple of times.
The Righteous Bloom is out now.