Centurions Ghost - Blessed & Cursed In Equal Measure
First up, i have to give big thanks to Tony for getting this CD to me so quickly for this early review. Do you ever get a CD in your hands and already get that feeling you are going to be blown away by something really special, that is what happened here with the new and third album by Centurions Ghost. One look at the exceptional artwork and you get that immediate doom vibe and within seconds of the opening track "Powerful Sense Of Dread" the scene is set for a barrage of heavy laden monolithic doom metal. A little personal CG listening history from me, the first album "A Sign of Things to Come" in my opinion was a monster of a album, underrated by many but still a favorite among a lot of the doom metal community. The second album "The Great Work" didn't hit quite the same but became a grower of a album and in time became another favorite. That brings us to the third album from the band in 5 years "Blessed & Cursed In Equal Measure". I have been waiting for what seemed like a eternity for this album to come out but at last its here in all its unadulterated down-tuned glory. 2010 has already seen some real solid releases and this is another one, no filler or moments for your mind to wander, this is a beast from start to finish. Forget about track by track descriptions here, no need for it as every track, in fact every minute of this album is classic doom for the insane. Centurions Ghost do play some elements of traditional doom but its in a twisted form much like bands like Iron Monkey but at the same time they have some mid-tempo sludge riffery like Crowbar. This combination is a brutal one and this time around the band has taken it one step further by adding a slight progressive edge to their songs given them new depth and in a way even more of a bleak sound. There is crushing riffing crashing into more traditional blues runs and its also mixed with a more aggressive tone both musically and vocally. To top that off, the sound overdoses you on the ooze of distortion and punishing bass tones. Its almost impossible to pick favorite tracks but "Wizard Of Edge" knocks you on the floor and holds you there to the last second. The album closer "Temple" is a unforgettable piece of creepy spaced out doom and "Hyena Circle" maybe is one of the greatest stoner doom tracks ever written but every track is a masterpiece of pulsating doom. What stands out is Centurions Ghost technique of avoiding the standard extended doom jamming style that so many bands indulge in. On "Blessed & Cursed In Equal Measure" the band keeps the listener guessing on whats going to happen next and therefore the album goes beyond any pre-conceived expectations. Its true the songs are of a "epic nature" but never are they boring and they have successfully married the sounds of classic dark metal partially from the early 80's with modern day doom excesses. If there is a heavier band from the UK at the moment, i would love to hear them and with older bands like Electric Wizard officially stuck in neutral it is great to know there is albums like this that can still floor you. Essential.