Beelzefuzz – The Righteous Bloom (2016) Running Time 46:14
Release Date 30-09-2016 The Church Within Records
Album Review by Rick Tilley
Beelzefuzz…what a fantastic name for a band and one which seems to encapsulate precisely what this band is all about! That’s just as well because, otherwise, I would have to describe them as ‘Ozzy era Black Sabbath meets Wishbone Ash meets Uriah Heep meets Pentagram meets Dio era Black Sabbath meets Deep Purple meets Graveyard meets a little bit of Jethro Tull’…and that’s a bit of a mouthful isn’t it? I suppose I could just say Doom meets 70’s Rock but that would do Beelzefuzz a massive injustice because they are so much more than that!
Hailing from the small town of North East, Maryland Beelzefuzz formed in 2009 and released their, self-titled debut album in 2013. Originally a trio, band politics got in the way and they broke up the following year. Two of the band got back together, added two new members and changed their name to ‘The Righteous Bloom’ but in 2015 they changed it back to Beelzefuzz and began writing their second album. I’m not sure if there were legal wrangling’s over the name and, if yes, whether they are still ongoing but, having listened to the debut album, I can safely say musical integrity and style has not been affected. If anything this album seems more focussed!
Musically Beelzefuzz are down tuned, fuzzed out psychedelic Doom Rock and sometimes I can find that style a little laborious but what makes their very catchy and straight to the point brand of Doom so individual is the magnificent singing of Lead Vocalist/Guitarist Dana Ortt. He sounds very much like Uriah Heep’s David Byron but sung somewhere in the register of Barry Gibb and early Geddy Lee. Mix that with an essence of Ian Anderson and occasionally a tiny pinch of Ronnie James Dio, more in phrasing than in sound, and you have a very unique sounding vocal that’s a joy to listen to. With tracks that are mostly three to four minutes in duration, some excellent 70’s style organ playing and riffs that get your foot tapping immediately ‘The Righteous Bloom’ is as about as authentic a 1970’s Rock album as you can get whilst still being smack up to date!
Opener ‘Nazriff’ has a distinct Led Zeppelin feel to the riff but then the vocals start and the song is transported to somewhere in the upper stratosphere. I cannot stop emphasizing how distinct the vocals are and the clarity with which the notes are hit! ‘The Soulless’ has a fantastic riff that brought to mind Michael Schenker on the early MSG albums. ‘Hardluck Melody’ follows and has a Black Country Communion vibe to it and some great solo work courtesy of Lead Guitarist/ Vocalist Greg Diener. These first three songs pass so quickly that you don’t get the chance to appreciate how good they are. ‘Rat Poison Parfait’ is next and it’s this track, on first listen, where I really started to understand Beelzefuzz and their groove. It’s a slightly less immediate song but I closed my eyes and lost myself completely in it! ‘Within Trance’ is a gorgeous four minutes of music but in contrast the following ‘Nebulous’ has a really fuzzy, off kilter riff that works perfectly with some great harmony vocals that come straight from the Uriah Heep book of classic singing! At nearly seven minutes the title track is next; it’s the longest on offer here and proves Beelzefuzz can write a longer song that is perfectly balanced. ‘Dying On The Vine’ is just sublime and the album finishes perfectly on ‘Peace Mind’! There are no bad tracks here, just highlights. Darin McCloskey’s stick work and Bert Hall’s buzz saw bass guitar work together like apple pie and custard and the whole thing reeks of professionalism! Beelzefuzz offer up haunting, beautiful and unique music that grows and continues to envelop me the more I listen. I haven’t quite heard anything this different since the last Bigelf album!
- The Soulless
- Hardluck Melody
- Rat Poison Parfait
- Eternal Waltz
- Within Trance
- The Righteous Bloom
- Sanctum & Solace
- Dying On The Vine
- Peace Mind
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSh2H0WQJd4 (Nazriff Video)
This review was originally written for MGTV