“Cornucopia della Morte” finally sees the light of day having been put together in 2013 but kept on ice while its’ mastermind, John Gallo pursued solo interests. The wait has been well worth it too because Blizaro’s second full length is a mesmerising piece of work. The band has crafted something quite superb that mixes horror doom, psychedelia and early 70’s inspired prog rock. This isn’t so much an album as an experience. Gallo provides vocals, guitar, synthesizer and keyboards while Mark Rapone is on bass and Mike Waske is the man behind the kit.
The drama is immediate with the opening suite of “Nemesis” spread over four parts starting with “Daughter Of The Scarab”. A creeping intro leads into a horror film soundtrack to the nastiness that lurks throughout. Gallo’s vocals are clear and full of theatricality. The synthesiser adds a twisted dimension to the tale unfolding and already the sense of darkness can be felt. There are hints of Candlemass over an apocalyptic Black Sabbath foundation. Part 2 – “Citadel Of The Lunatic” brings a more traditional chugging doom aura with Gallo’s soloing straight out of the Tony Iommi guide to melting faces. “Some kind of evil is creeping upon you/You’re going to get what you deserve” – you get the picture, right? “Nemesis” continues to weave the nightmare soundtrack through the acoustic “Interludio” and the electronic and pure heavy metal tapestry of “Altered State”.
The instrumental “Giallo” carries the theme forward with a full progressive, psychedelic experience that sounds like Pink Floyd turned nasty one minute before touches of Hot Rats era Zappa appear the next. All the while there’s the return to classic doom riffery underpinned by Mike Waske’s impressive drumming.
Blizaro’s progressive side takes a momentary back seat for a cover of Paul Chain Violet Theatre’s “Voyage To Hell” – a sinister, crunching, unrelenting force that does the original complete justice. Stylistically, it’s the heaviest and most raw moment and stands out but doesn’t detract from the tracks around it. The desperation and condemnation in Gallo’s voice are only matched by the belting riffs that he keeps hitting you with. The album’s strength continues into the two closing tracks. “The Staircase” brings a return to warm electronica leading into the “Black Sabbath” intro of “Stygian Gate” complete with its’ rolling thunder. This is classic doom with that air of mournful finality. Macabre keyboards effects float over super smooth bass and by the end of this 52 minute journey, I really just needed to play it all over again.
“Cornucopia della Morte” is a true soundscape of an album that demands attention. At once progressive and psychedelic with swathes of delicious heaviness from the old school, it is delivered by some real talent. Thankfully it has finally been released for us mere mortals to feast upon. Dan Bell’s twisted artwork is reflective of its’ contents and helps to capture the essence of a band using a melting pot of classic sounds and formulating them into a fresh, mesmerising piece.
(9/10 Johnny Zed)