Lord Of Confusion – Evil Mystery Review

Release date: September 30, 2022. Label: Morbid And Miserable Records.
There was a time when you couldn’t throw a rock without breaking the CD case of some amazing doom release from I Hate Records. Right around 2005 to about 2010. Isole. Burning Saviours. The Gates of Slumber. Fall of the Idols. Serpentcult. Pale Divine. Wall of Sleep. Evoken. Jex Thoth. Reino Ermitaño. SubRosa. Memory Driven. Realmbuilder(!). Count Raven. The sheer quantity and quality of doom in this five-year period — not just from I Hate, but from every label — is astonishing, really. I don’t know why these few years were such fertile soil for doom. But I, and many others, basked in it anyway.

Strange, then, that this period is so easily partitioned. Excised. Sure, trends change. Yet the relative quiet of the years that followed this fruitful era in doom felt more the product of quality than fickle tastes. Admittedly, my knowledge of new doom since has decreased exponentially every year. And ignorance, no doubt, plays some role. But that decline seems at least somewhat demonstrable.

Evil Mystery by Lord of Confusion

Because those five years left the indelible mark that they did, I am always keen to listen to any new doom that sounds remotely promising. That search often involves some key-wording on Bandcamp. Ergo Lord of Confusion.

Steeped as it is in psychedelia, Portugal’s Lord of Confusion is pretty firmly rooted in the tradition of beautifully bewitching vocals over thick slabs of doom. There’s no getting around the organ — it even towers over the church on the cover art. But the driving force of Evil Mystery, the band’s debut, is clearly the vocal talents of one Carlota Sousa and the aforementioned thick slabs.

Beyond the nifty touches, the psychedelia, and an apparent attempt to sound old yet refreshing lies something more obviously exciting. Those I Hate Records releases would have found good company in Evil Mystery. There was something almost indescribably emotive and increasingly gratifying about the experience of listening to those records. I get a similar feeling from Evil Mystery. A simple but no less painful flooring. The kind that takes the wind out of sails. Or the wind out of you, anyway.

And Lord of Confusion pull no punches with opener “Land of Mystery,” the second weightiest of the very weighty songs here. That weight largely comes from a consistent flirtation with the filthier, slower corners of doom ala YOB or Monolord. But it would be disingenuous to group this more traditional band with that ilk. Though they share a tendency to ride the wave of a particularly hypnotic riff, there’s something in Sousa’s voice that sounds less like an additional layer and more like the impetus of the band.

Evil Mystery by Lord of Confusion

The organ and song titles (“Evil Blood,” “Witchfinder,” “Hell”) make Lord of Confusion easy prey for the occult and psychedelic tags. Truth be told, the sheer heft of those three songs alone proves that the band is far removed from Sabbath Assembly, Occultation, The Devil’s Blood, and other good, but very much not heavy metal bands. Lord of the Confusion is decidedly heavy. “Hell,” in particular, is a soporific and undoubtedly dark thirteen minutes. There isn’t a prevailing or dominant moment or strain of rock or psychedelia to be found here. That commitment is refreshing.

It’s not often that a band swings as hard and connects as solidly on a debut as Lord of Confusion does here with Evil Mystery. The immediate warmth of nostalgia was not, as it turns out, an illusion. Rather, it was the result of an exceptionally talented group of people channeling the same kind of energy that made so many before them equally exceptional.

Posted by Chris C

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