Black Capricorn - Cult of Black Friars

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Predicates of Capricorn are: stubborn, down-to-earth, disciplined and ambitious. Capricorns can also be antisocial and depressed. To some extent, these qualities seem to match this trio from Sardinia. Holding on to the vintage psychedelic doom sound, Black Capricorn has created a very interesting album. With typical heavy riffing and clean, subdued vocals they take us back to the powerful seventies, but with a better sound quality.


The fact that Black Capricorn is merely a trio (guitar, bass, drums) doesn't affect the power of the music. In fact, the overflow of fuzz creates an immense wall of sound, nearly unpenetratable. The songs basically drive on a straightforward and effective riff, creating a very convincing sound. There's nothing complicated about this music but the effect is quite remarkable. Between the heavy riffs, an array of samples and folk-like passage fill-up the album by an interesting amount of variation.


The vocals are somewhat mixed to the background. Most of them are sung by Mr Monni (aka Kjxu, also on guitars), except "To the Shores of Distant Stars", sung by Rachela (who's also the drummer). Yet, picking a favourite song in this album is not easy. All of them breathe the same atmosphere and the same quality, plus, the album sounds as if it's recorded as a whole or a concept. It's almost an evil sound, enforced by bizarre samples (from old horror movies?) and a striking cold feel. The tempo is mostly very low, except in 'Cat People', which is a bit faster (at times). If I have to compare this to other bands, I think something between Conan and Electric Wizard might be the best description.


There are several special guest appearences on Cult Of Black Friars: Luca Catapano from Black Wings of Destiny plays the guitar solo on 'Hammer of the Witches'. Mr Toro played acoustic guitar on 'To the Shores of Distant Stars'. Alessandra Cornacchia from Sacred Sword plays the flute on 'Animula Vagula Blandula'. The lyrics on this track are an English translation by Marguerite Yourcenar of the classic poem by Hadrian the Roman emperor.


Yet, a strange thing I noticed on some songs is the sudden fade-out at the end. I'm not sure if these are planned or merely a mishap in the recording studio. They definitely don't make or break the quality, they just stand out as something weird and possibly overlooked. But don't let that aspect make you ignore this album because it really is an excellent piece of music, filled with weirdness, poetry, creepy samples and riffs for your slow but intense headbanging. Cult of Black Friars is a very decent, well-written album with a lot of variation. Great work...