On their second full-length album, Beelzefuzz proves to be a rather unique entry in the legendary Maryland doom scene. The persistent grooves and emphasis on steady riffs show an obvious debt to staples like Pentagram or The Obsessed, but there is also a carnival atmosphere of sorts that has really only been seen in this genre in the efforts by Ghost and Avatarium. The tone is dark yet playful, almost dreamlike during the more laid back sequences, and the swings seem to be based more on waltz rhythms than any sort of all-out blues influence.
But while the songs on The Righteous Bloom are often reliant on the guitar performances, the vocals are what truly make Beelzefuzz stand out. The high pitched warble that drifts throughout the album is quick to remind one of John Arch during the early Fates Warning years, but there is also a more soulful inflection that results in a more unique make-up. The lack of true abrasiveness may lead to some deeming the vocal performance as weak, but they serve as a steady guide and make the atmosphere much more welcoming.
If there’s really anything to nitpick, it’s that The Righteous Bloom isn’t as adventurous with its tempos. The songs are well put together and there are plenty of hooks and slight dynamic shifts throughout, but the band sticks to a fairly upbeat mid-tempo approach for nearly every song on here. While some may find this results in the songs sounding the same after a while, others may find it enhances the conceptual file that can already be felt on here. If anything, it’s really only distracting in the sense of wondering how it would sound if the band decided to throw something faster or slower on here.
Overall, Beelzefuzz’s second album is a unique doom album that offers a great balance between riffs and vocals that allows its mysterious vibes to shine. Those who find Avatarium and Ghost to be welcome additions to the contemporary scene should find this album to be just as enjoyable, but it may also catch the ear of prog fans for its vocal style and sense of threatrics. It’d be cool to see the band toy with its formula on future efforts, but they certainly sound like they know what they’re capable of.
“Rat Poison Parfait”
“The Righteous Bloom”