BLACK MAGICIAN – Nature Is The Devils Church

User Rating: 8.5

Olde English Doom, a term I rarely come across and one I get to use even less, Black Magician unveil ‘Nature Is The Devil’s Church’ as their much anticipated début L.P.

With 5 tracks clocking in at just under 50 minutes, this record is British doom at it’s best, using everything from the plague to the Pendle Hill witches, it is an exercise in showing the darkest parts of British myth and legend.

Kicking us off is a short 59 second piano piece entitled ‘ The Foolish Fire’ this really lays out the foundations of the bleak, unsettling darkness that is about to come down around you. Onto the first real track in ‘Full Plain I see, The Devil Know’s How To Row’  inspired by the classic poem ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ this is a truly unsettling ten minute doom stained epic, slow and heavy riffs bring a eerie and unnerving and malicious force. Draped with organs and crushing vocals that snarl and moan out this harrowing tale.

‘Four Thieves Vinegar’ is based around the herbal formula designed by thieves allowing them to loot and pillage the houses of the dead and dying victims of the great plague, a rumbling bass line and crows cawing bring down the fog once more and you’re instantly in a Victorian graveyard surrounded by the masked doctors, with lines like ‘black death, for men and woman and child’ we’re instantly engaged in this 10 minute tale of the epidemic that wiped out millions of people, this takes the plague from the point of view that this is a biblical plague and rightly so. This is where the air becomes thick with death and with dread…the end is nigh!?

‘Ghost Worship’ is the shortest full track on the album at just under 6 minutes we’re shown the band’s folk roots, with birds tweeting and and water running we’re being musically taken by the hand with sweet little passages being brought forth on the acoustic guitar, whilst this departs from the original pace of the album, it doesn’t deviate from the darkest of themes out layed in the two tracks previous and whilst this song is instrumental you’ll never feel like anything being taken away and as this track progresses, you’ll find yourself on a journey though the seasons, we end with starkest and darkest winter, until…

…’Chattox’ kicks in, an organ blares out and the tension mounts, a crushing guitar line marches forth and a sense of danger and destruction fills the air, pounding drums and shredding guitar lines get faster. As the tension reaches fever pitch, the vocals crash in and this track tells the story of the witches of Pendle Hill, Britain’s most notorious witch burning.

Faith, murder, fire and power are all called into question, the atmospherics conveyed by the organs and guitar when paired with the icy vocals really bring forward cold night air, you imagine the witch trials, you see the fire, you see your own breath, you smell the death!

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