Blizaro - _Strange Doorways_
(I, Voidhanger Records, 2013)
by: Chaim Drishner (8.5 out of 10)
_Strange Doorways_ is a massive depiction of Blizaro's creative magnitude and fertility, being offered to the public as a double CD album containing more than two and a half hours of music, compiling the band's plethora of unreleased tracks, demo recordings and songs featured on the band's splits. In essence, _Strange Doorways_ is a patchwork of material from Blizaro's brief past, otherwise virtually impossible to obtain.

I, Voidhanger Records have got a good ear for quality material never mind the genre, suffice it's dark and 'out there'. In that sense, I, Voidhanger's modus operandi resembles the course of action Van Records has been taking when it comes to handling and releasing material that isn't necessarily 'metal': a roster of bands whose common denominator is the thematic and sonic embodiment of darkness in any form and any shape.

In that regard, Blizaro, not unlike Van Records' own, namely The Devil's Blood, play occult rock -- dubbed by the band as "horror rock" -- and beyond. It's horror-laden in places, indeed; it's dark and it's brooding, like a blanket of starless night sky covering the sun, tempered by warm, fuzzy summer breeze that enhances the rotten sweet smell of decaying flora and flesh. _Strange Doorways_ conjures the vision of cold dungeons, of bonfire rituals, of dancing naked in the wilderness while ceremonies of the most bizarrely pagan nature commence; the music conjures every damned and sinister fear and passion that lies within the blackest of dwellings -- the collective human heart.

With desert rock and space rock, pure vintage keyboards, dark ambient pieces and a series of vocal approaches, Blizaro indeed open strange doorways into their universe of the occult, and through those dark, fetid corridors the listener is being walked, all the way until he/she reaches the end; the end which is just the unglamorous, despairing vistas of disintegration and decay.

Proto-doom metal/rock and ritual rock meet and play their role in this journey to nowhere, while the heavier metallic parts counteract with lighter, more laid-back, vintage hard rock's greatest moments, such as the sublime ballads by Deep Purple ("Child in Time" and "Lalena" come to mind), or the good old _Stormbringer_, being resurrected and given a punchy, updated and darker interpretation.

Blizaro's _Strange Doorways_ is massive both in its musical and lyrical contents, each track having a short explanation about its origins, influences and inspiration, and you'd be finding yourself spending days upon days exploring this gargantuan work for its sheer volume. It has so much going on in here, it's like watching multiple theater plays simultaneously, where absurdity and mystery are the characters who reign the stage supreme, only to be interrupted by twisted cabaret interludes that appear to bring forth some comical relief, flying off on a tangent from the rock-ish, bluesy backbone of the music, enhancing its virtually indescribable versatility.

Albeit the fact this massive introduction to Blizaro's strange world doesn't pass without some filler parts as well as other redundant or repetitive sections which the album could have been better off without, the overall sentiment is that everything is where it should be; like a big, intricate jigsaw puzzle (or a house of cards, for that matter) where one piece co-depends on the other pieces around it -- remove one, and the entire structure will crumble.

The artwork and presentation are -beautiful- and precisely on par with the strangeness of the musical layout. Despite the fact the tracks are scraps and leftovers from the band's demos and such, the recording is surprisingly clear and poignant, adequately expanse, organic and vivid, allowing all instruments to make themselves known and yet still able to attain a drop of muffled underground quality.

_Strange Doorways_ is the high altar, the meeting place where Hawkwind, Deep Purple, The Wounded Kings, The Doors, The Devil's Blood, Totem, Jex Thoth and the American band Egypt converge and sonically copulate (and you could still drop so many other band names in that regard, in addition to those immediate cognitive images) and if you think -this- concoction sounds curious and strange enough -- wait until you actually listen to the album in its whole: you have not heard anything like that before, and that we guarantee.

_Strange Doorways_ is a colossal achievement for anyone who has partaken in writing, recording, producing, illustrating and releasing this grand opus; a colossal achievement, as simple as that.


(article published 23/4/2014)

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