BeholdLA’s BTM are a stoner/doom band, who unfortunately lost their vocalist in a car accident recently, and have regrouped with a new line-up featuring Jordan Nailey on vocals and bassist Jason Casanova whom some of you might know from Sasquatch. From the opening instrumental gambit, there’s some weird stuff happening. With an almost nihilistic start before the first full track ‘Philosopher’s Blade’ which is a monster in its own right. With this tracks intro, there is some early Unearthly Trance nastiness before going into bruising metal akin to High on Fire with the tempo increasing somewhat. ‘The Mithriditist’ is a trip out, with almost ‘Planet Caravan’ psychedelic styled vocal arrangement merging into the more brutal Baroness/Kylesa styled riffs when the main structure of the track starts to belt out, to say this album keeps you on your toes is an understatement!

The artwork, penned by Dusty Peterson (Bloodbath, Six Feet Under etc) is cool, as is the presentation in digipak format, with a vinyl release coming in December apparently. That said, with it being produced by Billy Anderson (you must know who he is by now), you would expect bombastic things, which you do get from the music, but I find the vocals somewhat lost in the lighter moments of the album. ‘Lord of Bones’ is my stand out tune, much heavier and fulfilling, then the closing 14 minute track ‘Architect of the Void’ goes a touch more epic combining all the influences previously heard on this relatively dark release.

I must admit, I expected a touch more of a “monolithic” approach based on the band name and personnel involved in the release and I have found it a touch frustrating when going into various different tangents within the same track, very much lacking consistently throughout. That said, for the four tracks I’ve mentioned, the release is cool, but not as much of a kick in the ass I was expecting.

(6/10 Paul Maddison)