Beastmaker - Lusus Naturae - (7.5/10)
Published on March 30, 2016
Picture this: you and your significant other catch a run of movies at the small-time inner-city movie theatre. Embracing each other you are shocked to see your run-of-the-mill B-movie frightfest turns to the trio providing the soundtrack for the evening as they ooze out from the screen, bringing with them all-manner of demonic ghouls as they crawl towards you. You run out of the theatre, the music so slow and heavy your hairs stand on end. Barricading yourselves in the car you try to turn the engine but nothing runs and, to your horror, you find yourselves surrounded by It. Slowly It enters through the cracks in the vehicle and consumes your souls until nothing is left. The music continues and the Beastmaker lives on. This, ladies and gentlemen, is just what Lusus Naturae will do to you and your family.
Earlier in the year Rise Above records unleashed their two-track reissue of the trio’s You Must Sin EP and are now gearing towards the band’s first full length – twelve tales of doom that have been unearthed from a bygone era of crypt-dwelling riffs and hazy vocals. Lusus Naturae continues through the same dark alley the band lulled listeners down with their EP, staying true to their brand of Bedemon-worship only with more Sabbathian sacrifices along the way. There are some punishingly slow numbers here, such as the crawling ode of ‘Find the Stranger’ which opens with the album’s cleanest guitars under the analogue tones of Trevor William Church before John Tucker serves up the four string-heaviness to rattle skulls. Like the majority of the album, an overwhelmingly foreboding tone comes from the speakers, like a lingering mist, dulling the senses as you navigate through the song until it climaxes, leaving you bewildered and shaken – this is definitely the case with their ominous paragon of horror, ‘It’.
This is what makes the album work. Beastmaker are wizards when it comes to concocting a devilish brew consisting of ‘70s doom and horror from across the ages, and they make it their own. Very few bands manage to do this without sounding parodic or, at least, with the level of precision these guys manage. The songs here are direct and do not waste time with superfluous gimmicks: ‘Clouds in the Sky’ may begin with that haunting bell ringing but before you know it the cult dirge takes a hold of your mind, casting its wicked spell that lingers long after the album finishes with the Iommi-worshipping ‘The Strain’. ‘Skin Crawler’, ‘Mask of Satan’ and ‘Astral Corpse’ are choice cuts to take from these sessions, which firmly embed themselves deep within the brain. Despite this, there is a plentiful supply of riffs sprawling throughout the record which any self-respecting doom fan shouldn’t be without.
Beastmaker have certainly delivered a promising debut here. It’s a fiendish aural projection of a sound we delight to reminisce about but cannot replicate. Thankfully, they still sound as if they have been locked away since ’73 only to be cast out now to send metal audiences into an orgiastic frenzy and bang their heads all through the night. They may lack variety in their output but because their craft is so unique and well delivered they can get away with it. Lusus Naturae is the manifestation of the decade that started it all but, before you realise it, it will drink your blood and eat your skin. Just keep telling yourself “it’s just a record, it’s just a record…”