If the horned one has a house warming party the day he moves in and consumes the world, there are plenty of candidates to provide the musical incitement; a list sure to have The House Of Capricorn near the top. The New Zealand devil rock trio release their new album Morning Star Rise this week and it is a proposition which wears the apocalypse as a smouldering seduction, a tantalising glaze to the band’s rock ‘n’ roll tapestry of doom, gothic and stoner rock. The release is a masterful protagonist for dark deeds and blackened hearts, a bewitching evocative hex sounding like the son of a satanic union between Type O Negative, Dommin, Babylon Whores, and Sisters Of Mercy. Even that description does not touch the black hearted toxicity which coats every note and syllable but it does suggest the melodic and deceptive satanic alchemy fuelling the outstanding encounter, the album radiantly inviting as its sound and intent feeds on the soul.
Formed in 2001 and hailing from Auckland, The House of Capricorn set free the self-released The Rivers And The Rain EP in 2006 as their first temptation, but it was with first album Sign Of The Cloven Hoof four years later that the band stirred real attention within a wider spotlight. It was followed the next year by In The Devil’s Days, the album reinforcing the increasingly darker explorations began with its predecessor. Now the threesome of vocalist Marko Pavlovic, guitarist Scott Blomfield, and drummer Michael Rothwell have cast their most riveting collection of satanic hymns yet for one of the most thrilling possessions of the year.
The Road to Hell is Marked makes the first enticement of ears and psyche, the track bounding in on swinging beats and a carnivorously snarling bassline entwined with an instantly engaging if acidic groove. It is a magnet for the imagination, the opening intimidation swiftly bursting into a creative punk like brawl as Pavlovic roars from within a tenaciously aggressive sonic confrontation. An element of Volbeat plays with thoughts but only as whispers behind the outstanding Pete Steele like dark harmonies the vocals grace the lyrical infestation with. Anthemic and contagious, the opener is a salacious but controlled stomp teasing with a scorching solo and that ever grumbling bass sound which enslaves appetite and emotion.
The brilliant start is matched swiftly by the fire and brimstone of In Light of Lucifer, the track stepping down a gear in attack but increasing the dosage of toxic grooves and vocal tempting. The track prowls and taunts with its gait and hypnotic sounds, an imposing resonance leaking from every pore whilst the guitars cast a web of virulent hooks and grooves within the thick doom loaded smog. As the previous songs and those to follow, there is a diversity of sound and textures making up the offering but whatever the spices the song, as the album, is simply rock ‘n’ roll at its voracious best.
Our Shrouded King is another bellow of sound and demonic intent, riffs and rhythms an uncompromising confrontation tempered by the sultry temptation of grooves and expressive vocals. Hints of Misfits/Samhain flirt with thoughts as do more loudly those of Type O Negative but there is no escaping the rich and imposing tones of seventies classic metal kicking up a storm within the swamp of enterprise and incendiary emotion squalling within the track. Its invitingly corrosive maelstrom makes way for the slower predation of Ashlands, it an initially agitated intimidation which emerges as a broad and funereal examination of imagination and emotions. The track is a glorious dark seducing, a drone kissed croon in sound and voice which consumes the senses with a post punk haunting and gothic rock elegance before making its way to angst soaked expulsions of raw vocals and blacker sonic depths. The song is as meditative as it is emotionally toxic, and quite riveting.
Both The Only Star in the Sky and Ivory Crown continue the exhilarating infestation, the album remaining on its lofty plateau of persuasion with consummate ease. The first of the two has an essence of The Mission to its melodic tempting whilst rhythmically and in the growling bass lures, a tinge of early Killing Joke. Again they are mere whispers in the fascinating creative embrace of an inescapable contagion. If this is an infectious suasion its successor is primal seducing with its Sisters of Mercy like chorus and blackened glamour, though overall as the song blossoms and tempts with melodic and female harmonies inflaming ears and passions, it enthrals more like a distant cousin of The Mission’s track Severina, a plus in anyone’s book.
The hazier climate and sonic colour of Watching Angels Fall comes next, the song as magnetic strolling relentlessly or welling up with tsunami like energy for impassioned dark crescendos. Its adventurous instinct leads the listener into a noir lit plane of sonic enterprise and provocative ruffled calm at one point, an almost wrong-footing turn before re-establishing its authority with the returning tide of torrential tiffs and rhythms. A slow burner compared to others on the album but soon another peak, it is followed by the atmospheric instrumental Covenants Ark, an intriguing and thought provoking piece of stark wasteland bred ambience leading to final epic emprise Dragon of Revelations. Over nine minutes long, the track is a cavernous journey into a dark unknown and destructive malevolence but lit with the transfixing smouldering tones of Pavlovic and a reflective streaming of sonic colour from Blomfield. It is a doom drenched exploration, oppressive and enchanting simultaneously and a sublime end to an exceptional release.
Morning Star Rise is majestic, colossally gloomy and fearsome but equally captivatingly infectious and spellbinding. When the apocalypse comes The House of Capricorn will have no fears, they will riding to the fore with wide grins and instruments sound-tracking the end of days.
Morning Star Rise is available now via Svart Records on vinyl @ http://svartrecords.com/shoppe/home/2738-the-house-of-capricorn-morning-star-rise-cd.html, on CD @ http://svartrecords.com/shoppe/home/2737-the-house-of-capricorn-morning-star-rise-cd.html or digitally @ http://thehouseofcapricorn.bandcamp.com/
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