Sunday, January 22, 2012

black mass

I posted about Gehenna's "Land Of Sodom" EP a few days ago, and with that same order from A389 Records I also received this platter; the "Practitioners Of Fell Sorcery" MLP from Anaheim's Gravehill. Ox Blood wax as the label describes it, six tracks of death metal heavily influenced by Hellhammer (obviously; the bands name is actually ripped from that of Hellhammer themselves, Gravehill was their first, largely unknown incarnation).

This was originally released as a demo tape of 50 copies back in 2001 by members of various Socal punk and metal circles, most notably Mike of Gehenna. The story more or less goes that the band was formed when Gehenna was in somewhat of a rut. Here he again handles all vocal duties so I suspect fans of Gehenna will be able to enjoy this just for that fact alone, his chords are such a distinctive part of that bands attack, and they boarder so many early Euro metal approaches anyway.

After the original release of this demo the band split for various reasons. It was reissued in the mid 2000's (I think on tape, but I'm not too sure), and then they reformed with one original member in 2007. Vocals handled by another fellow, and chasing a much more thrashy sound with a cleaner recording style, they've released a handful of stuff since including two LP's. I wouldn't argue that the newer stuff is terrible, but it's not as good as this more simplistic demo. Come 2011 A389 were granted the rights to reissue it on vinyl, the format it certainly deserves.

Very good metal. Track down the song "Necrosummoner" for proof. The mid paced chug, pounding guitar, and Mike's distorted/delayed vocals make it such an intense five minutes. Worth the cost of the LP, just for this song alone.

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