Tuesday, 7 June 2022

Baazlvaat - An Old Forgotten Text (2022) / 85%


A New Merging of Genres

This mysterious entity from Flint, Michigan, a location I know only because of its controversial water, delivers another bewildering ride of an album. Last year's The Higher Power was a surprising record that made a few waves here and there and this one just expands on the themes previously explored there. Before we go any further I need to say that I disagree with the assessment that many people share about metal, it's not stale or a dead genre. There's a lot of experimentation to be found and Baazlvaat are a band that's not afraid to burn the house down and rebuild it with funkier components.

Baazlvaat are sort of like Black Magick SS if they weren't masturbating to Nazi imagery and were, for the most part, actually playing metal.They're the sort of band with a solid main identity in one particular style (in their case it's black metal) who's also adding an array of extraneous elements. I'm a big fan of kitchen sink bands such as Leeches of Lore, Tjolgtjar or Bretwaldas of Heathen Doom and this American duo certainly explored the fridge thoroughly.

They merge the exploratory side of psych rock, the loose aspects of lo fi rock, the rawness of black metal, the synth presence of dungeon synth/synthpop/symphonic black metal or the playfulness melodicism of heavy metal. This exhausting list creates one pungent mix of influences that's hard to classify or pinpoint but easy to get entranced by. It's not a confused mess at all, there's an assurance in their varied but cohesive songs that's hard to ignore.

A song like "Three Heads from the Black Depths" evokes the retro groovy rock/metal of Uncle Acid or Graveyard but adds piano and unhinged raw harsh vocals while a song like "Cold Sky Ice Frosten'" brings forth a sort of shred heavy metal mood. Furthermore, there's a Middle-eastern break in the final track followed by clean vocals akin to lo-fi epic heavy metal and there's a blues/country break in "The Missing Key". It's insane.

The pièce de résistance of the album is certainly the almost nine minutes "The Iron Lung", a monumental epic black/heavy metal track and it reminds me of both Agatus and Wytch Hazel (the dandyness in the riffing) in spirit but it's combined with a sort of outsider art approach that makes it peculiar. Still,the most important is the quality of their compositions and they deliver that in spades and while it overstays its welcome a bit, the album has no real weak moments. An Old Forgotten Text is definitely not for everyone and its originality resides in the merging of existing elements instead of the creation of new ones but the ability of combining styles well is still a feat in itself.


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