New Zealand based blackened doom merchants, The House of Capricorn bring an interesting offering to the altar with their occult heavy third full length album. With an ominous feeling that the end is looming, they mix the atmospheric nature of Black Metal with the pounding riffs and groove of doom and some good old fashioned rock and roll style filth to create something which appeals to both fans of the black metal styling’s and the riff-worshipping doom fans. Let’s enjoy the Morning Star’s rise then shall we?
“The Road to Hell is Marked” opens the album with an upbeat intro. Pounding drums and a simple lead line give way to a wall of filthy guitars, murky bass and vocals reminiscent of Pete Steele in his more lively songs. The simple leads add a haunting edge over the raw driving groove of the song. Round 2 minutes in there is an evil sounding lead section which has a bit of blues flair in there for good measure, really letting the lead wail out the way it should. What an opener for an album! “In Light of Lucifer” opens up with a heavy drum driven intro over some more ominous sounding guitar and bass work before kicking into another big groove which is very Orange Goblin like. Vocally, this one is a little more subdued with a more hypnotic low register style of singing and it all comes together great. The track slows down as it goes on to a slower pace which adds a really evil edge to it, just before it kicks back in again to wrap it all up. “Our Shrouded King” keeps up the groove worship and brings back the more lively vocals and some huge sounding rhythm work. The simple but effective main riffs are guaranteed to get you head banging along. Midway through the song, it delves into a lead section which has a Black Pyramid styled edge to it before kicking back in with full power once again just to wind it down in the end.
“Ashlands” is one of the longer songs on the album, clocking in at near 7 and a half minutes. Its slow and murky pace brings back the gloomy vibe as it slowly crushes everything in its path under the intense atmosphere it brings. The more black metal edge of the band shines through hear with the layered guitars creating a unique soundscape which really adds a lot to the album, proving that sometimes less, is certainly more in terms of making things happen. “The Only Star in the Sky” opens with a lead line which is soon joined by a pounding bassline. Staying at a steady pace, this one keeps the haunting feel of the previous track, but comes across a little more lively. Round the mid-section, the song picks up the pace but not enough to bring the big riffs back as it teases its way to the end. “Ivory Crown” opens up with another spooky sounding lead line and steadily pounding rhythm section. It’s got more groove to it than the past two songs, but it’s still a slow one. With a sound which has more rock and roll feeling, it’s dark as hell and one of those tracks which you can just sit back and appreciate. The little guitar fills and riffs work great and the Sisters of Mercy styled vocals work great too. Near the end it livens up a little with a great sounding solo but apart from that, this one just stays slow.
“Watching Angels Fall” has more of a kick to it than the previous tracks. The slightly droning leads add some edge in the verses but in the chorus bits, the punchier rhythm work adds the heaviness. The rhythm section is great on this track with the steady drums and thick bass keeping it all locked down. Halfway through it slows down and the guitar solo which follows is short but eerie sounding. As it gets into the final stretch, it picks up a little, just in time to end the track on a good note. “Covenant’s Ark” is a filler track which opens up with a foreboding sample which is accompanied by an acoustic guitar playing a haunting melody. It really changes the mood from the previous track and perfectly sets up the final track of the album, the near 10 minute epic of an album closer.
“Dragon of Revelations” opens up with a distorted variant of the melody in the previous track, backed by a steady rhythm and big chords which ring out, you get the sense that this is going to be heavy and evil sounding. The slow, gloomy vocals have a haunting edge to them over the minimalistic instruments behind them – the lead lines add the haunting edge to it and the drawn out chords beef it up well whilst the drums and bass just keep it going. Halfway through it picks up a little, bringing riffs before slowing slightly into another eerie phase, complete with barely audible whispering over it. As it kicks on again, back to the original sounds from near the start of the track, it seems to come a little more to life, sounding quite bright for something which can make you feel so hopeless listening to it, right in time for the track to slowly fade out and come to a close.
Overall, this is great. It starts off with some filthy rock and roll vibe styled doom and then once you’re all built up from it, it crushes you with some seriously dark, gloomy and heavy stuff. The House of Capricorn have the right blend of doom to black on this record and “Morning Star Rise” is a fine testament to the band’s talent! Be damned and welcome the end as the Morning Star rises.