Beastmaker are from Fresno California but from the opening toll of an ominous bell you just know that they really wanna be from the West midlands 40 years ago. Lusus Naturae is Latin for freak nature. This is not freakish music by any means. This is straight up Sabbath worship. The dozen Ozzy hymns open with “Clouds in the Sky” which drops us into classic Sabbs territory big riffs and Hammer horror atmospheres. In the accompanying press release singer and guitarist Trevor Church describes Beastmaker as a much slower version of the Misfits or Danzig and there is evidence of that influence with the guitar sound and feel of a fair few of the tracks here, most evident on “Eyes are Watching” and “Astral Corpse”. The vocals are nothing like Evil Elvis though with the latter offering up an almost Lydon like sneer and the former pure Osbourne. “Astral Corpse” has a flamboyant stride like Vincent Price fronting the New York Dolls. “Arachne” makes me double take, reminding me as it does of British grunge peddlers Bush, if Gavin Rossdale had embraced patchouli oil and large crucifies instead of Gwen Stefani and Kurt Cobain.
“Skin Crawler” and “Find the Stranger” fit straight into the vibe that Witchcraft and Uncle Acid are creating – a great retro groove. The latter adds a more gothic tinge with a deliciously eerie riff that is backed by some early Alice Cooper drama. After all that creeping about in the darkness “You Must Sin” hits with a colossal riff and tales of devilment. This track was also released as a 7” single and you can hear why. Massive groovy doom-laden barrage of heavy metal. This is music made from the charred remains of beer crates burnt at the first Monsters of Rock festival (and probably some cut offs covered in Trouble and Pentagram patches that fanned the flames). Which leads nicely into “Burnt Offering” that follows.
The drums on “Mask of Satan” are bombastic, transforming this glam rock on mogadon piece into something huge. Juan Bonham (not his real name) certainly thumps the tubs with conviction with John Tucker on the low end to add to the unholy rhythm that Church can weave his guitar lines and macabre tales around.
The title tracks sees Church sounding almost Dalek like in his nasal vocal line choosing to exterminate with another fuck off riff rather than a toilet plunger though.
By the time “The Strain” finishes things off, with an opening riff that sounds like Black Sabbath (the song) cut and pasted back together in a different order, I have forgiven the band for their wanton worship of all things Brummie . Beastmaker have conjured up 12 tracks of heavy as fuck proto doom, managing to sound reverent and relevant at the same time. Definitely worth a listen for any headbanging groover who likes their riffs in a dumper truck.
(7/10 Matt Mason)