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Bretus : ...From The Twilight Zone

Everything about Bretus' latest horror Doom album just, well, works, in beautifully macabre fashion.

Bretus, the Italian heavyweights of Heavy Horror Doom, return from the unknowable depths of their dark dwellings with their third full length album, '…From the Twilight Zone', which, much like the seminal tv show alluded to in the album name, is an anthology of scary stories. That's right, this is a concept album, each song being inspired by some form of the macabre. Whilst previous album, 'The Shadow over Innsmouth' was based entirely on works of the master of cosmic horror himself, H.P. Lovecraft, this most recent release draws on an eclectic array of sometimes obscure horror, to create a chilling cornucopia of Doom-filtered curios.

Horror fans may recognise the source material of certain tracks with relative ease, others may be found, with some difficulty (as this reviewer discovered), using google, whilst a number can only be guessed at by anyone not possessing an encyclopaedic knowledge of scary movies. Either way, it's fun trying to figure them out. Fittingly, opening track, 'Terror behind the Mirror' begins with the sound of pouring rain and the plaintive cries of a crow, or perhaps, I dare quoth, a raven. An acoustic, slightly folky, riff follows, gently pulling the listener into the nightmarish world of Bretus before unleashing a vicious Doom riff. When the vocal starts, though, that's when the fun really begins. Zagarus's voice is wonderfully dramatic and theatrical in a way that perfectly complements the material; imagine how Freddie Mercury might have sounded after a week holed up in an abandoned cottage watching a perpetual loop of Hammer Horror movies and dropping acid, and you might be somewhere close.

As fun as the concept behind the album undoubtedly is, there's far more to enjoy here than just an interesting idea; the impressive vocals are backed admirably by an extremely tight band. Riffs so monstrous they'd have struck fear into the hardened hearts of Hammer stalwarts Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing abound, whilst crunching bass lines and powerful drumming create an accomplished sound, each instrument complementing the other to create something greater than the sum of their parts. It's hard and heavy, but there are moments of respite here and there with acoustic passages, organ effects and classic horror movie voice samples, all of which add to the Doom-laden atmosphere the album creates. 'Old Dark House' is a particular strong point; a down tempo malevolent riff begins the track followed by an outstanding solo that morphs into peels of thunder. Zagurus's vocal is heavily accented, but this actually adds to the mystique. Would Bela Lugosi have sounded quite so iconic if he'd spoken with a Barnsley accent? Everything about this album just, well, works.

Whether you're a horror fan or not, the music speaks for itself on this album, and it can be enjoyed by Doom fans that may never have watched a horror film in their lives. Whether such Doom fans exist is perhaps questionable, but if they do, and it's you, you will still enjoy this album. If you are a horror fan, though, particularly if your interest extends to the obscure, long-forgotten flicks of the early 70s, the type they don't make anymore, you'll have real fun with this gem. Long after masterful final track, 'Lizard Woman' draws a red velvet curtain on '…From the Twilight Zone', you'll have the unique sound of Bretus echoing in the fragments of your mind.

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Reviewer's rating: 9/10


Tracklist :
1. Terror Behind the Mirror
2. In the Vault
3. Old Dark House
4. Danza Macabra
5. The Murder
6. The Creeping Flesh
7. Lizard Woman

Duration : Approx. 41 minutes

Visit the Bretus bandpage.

Reviewed on 2017-07-21 by Nick Harkins
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