"Born Under the Capricorn"

(Stone Stallion Rex/Voice of Azram)

01. Tropic of Capricorn
02. Born Under the Capricorn
03. Capricornica
04. Double Star Goatfish
05. Scream of Pan

RATING: 7.5/10

The members of BLACK CAPRICORN hail from the Italian island of Sardinia, but the inspiration for their sophomore release, 2013's "Born Under the Capricorn", emanates from the zodiac constellation that inspired their name, plus, in their own words, "the beast with horns."


Even better, though the quintet is fundamentally rooted in classic doom, it doesn't take long for the LP's opening statement, "Tropic of Capricorn", to expand beyond elephantine riffs and crusty vocals (both of which come right out of the ELECTRIC WIZARD wheelhouse) by grafting oscillating, synth-generated space rock sounds to the song's tough, but evidently highly pliable, leathery skin.

Next, the sixteen-minute title track reveals a debt to '90s store rock (and its toppermost British purveyors, ACRIMONY, in particular - see the classic "Motherslug (The Mother of all Slugs)" for reference) when it adorns seismic power chords and evil melodies, first with Nick Oliveri-esque bass guitar wah-wahs, then cleaner vocals and greater depths of psychedelia, before finally blowing the devil's horn with a surprising harmonica.

For its part, side two of "Born Under the Capricorn" is comprised of three, five-minute numbers that almost mesh into a unified suite.

There's "Capricornica" (see a theme developing here?), which hurtles towards Earth like a meteorite dislodged from its Kuiper Belt-exiled mystery planet (the same one frequently visited by Italian compatriots UFOMAMMUT); there's album standout "Double Star Goatfish", which locks into a head-nodding groove, backed with droning voices promising unholy doom; and there's the closing "Scream of Pan", reprising much of what came before, plus a creepy, somber narration for that final, eccentric touch.

Through it all, and notwithstanding quite a few ultra-crusty, death-like croaks, BLACK CAPRICORN's interstellar doom sound is relatively "clean": not mired in overt distortion, or down-tuned to the funeral depths plumbed by so many contemporary outfits seeking compositional safety in extremity; this band's songs have no glaring weakness in need of camouflage.

(And did we mention that the band possesses a female rhythm section? No? probably because their sex has no bearing whatsoever on the musical surroundings, they just fit right in.)

No, there's little, if anything, entirely unique about BLACK CAPRICORN's spaced out doom (which, by the way, also has a little REVEREND BIZARRE nestled deep down in the grooves), but it does these influencing bands proud, and deserves a listen from enthusiasts of the genre.


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