Albez Duz - _The Coming of Mictlan_
(Archaic Sound, 2014)
by: Chaim Drishner (8.5 out of 10)
"...Heaven's blind, lost souls..."; with this repetitive chant German Albez Duz open their _The Coming of Mictlan_ album: a dark, ritualistic intro that serves as a backdrop for the album's initiation. This intro may be somewhat misleading though, as what comes next is not as sinister, nor as dark, nor even as ritualistic in essence as that intro; however, this album well deserves your time spent exploring it.

Albez Duz's style is referred to as occult doom rock, and indeed, if you mesh together the occult vibe of Danzig's better outputs, with the lush and depraved gothica of Type O Negative, you get this album, more or less. But _The Coming of Mictlan_ is more than this. It celebrates occult and gothic rock over classic epic / traditional doom metal undercurrents, and while the vocalist maneuvers between Peter Steele to Glenn Danzig vocals-wise, the music flirts with innovators such as Touch the Spider! and Abysmal Grief, aesthetics-wise.

The outcome is well worth your time and money, and then some. Feverish and dark narrative lines, some classic heavy metal leads and a harrowing atmosphere that envelopes everything in a shroud of mystery and 1970s occult rock vibe, aided by some church organs and a sensual-sounding vocalist, Albez Duz do indeed know how to craft extremely engaging and airtight songs charged with the power to drown the listener within waves of erotica as well as of despair and utter daydream-inducing beauty.

In spite of the relative simplicity of the slowly played and rather straightforward songs, the compositions are immensely beautiful and caustic, all at the very same time. The crisp and perfectly balanced production allows the vocals, instruments and organ lines to shine through in precise equilibrium and in a perfect harmony. Even the most tranquil ballads, like the fifth track "Drowned" for instance, have this sinister, heartbreaking quality to them; perfect soundtracks for lovemaking, wrist-cutting, or both. Think of Swans' Michael Gira taking over the vocal duties in Tiamat's _A Different Kind of Slumber_ and you will get the idea.

Not a children's bed-time story, but indeed a collection of macabre nocturnal lullabies with a strong narrative essence, this album is a culmination of all things potent and effective both in gothic rock and epic doom metal, with so much more to offer than those couple of aforementioned aesthetics, it will baffle you and throw you off your self-confident posture with the flux of enigmatic sounds and an assorted barrage of styles attacking your senses from all directions.

Just listen to the closing track, a Tanita Tikaram cover of her "Twist of My Sobriety" hit song from the late 1980s, and you will realize how talented this band is, giving that very song a much darker punch and rendering it much more powerful and enjoyable compared to the original.

_The Coming of Mictlan_ is brilliant and highly enjoyable an album; we think so, and so should you!


(article published 2/5/2015)

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