Thursday, May 07, 2015

Hands of Orlac: Figli Del Crepuscolo (2014)

"You're All the Same, The Lot of You"

Review by joanismylover, the third metal attorney.

I had the distinct pleasure on Monday (April 20) to see Electric Wizard in Santa Ana, California. This is a band so steeped in doom and B movie horror films that it feels like they invented the melding of the two. They probably did. Emphasizing their prominence in this doom meets 70s horror genre, Satan's Satyrs opened. If that band's name didn't give it away, their biker metal with EW fuzzed tone did. Horror stoner doom. (Totally unrelated - In the interlude EW has the balls to play both Slayer ("Hell Awaits") and Celtic Frost ("Procreation of the Wicked"). I was head banging at the bar to Celtic Frost before EW took the stage because that riff is sooooo amazing. Talk about confidence). EW tore the house down. Everything you'd expect and want: a bottom end cavalcade of riffs TOO BIG to handle and a montage of all that x-rated 70s eurotrash satanic movie clips in the background. It was awesome. But what of Hands of Orlac?

I'm reminded of the EW horror stoner doom genre as I listen to Figli Del Crepuscolo, which is Italian for "Children of the Nightfall". The vibe here is stoner psychedelia and 70s foreign horror films all the way. It's not an attempt to "outwizard the wizard" because that's mostly foolish. It's not super heavy, but it's heavy enough. More, it's swirling and rhythmic but the heavy guitars are lower in the mix. Add in female vocalist and delicate flute passages and the better reference points are Devil's Blood and Blood Ceremony. But these songs are not as drawn out as the former and not as immediate as the latter. Hands of Orlac seem to occupy a nice midpoint between those two giving the listener the heavy with texture and nuance but without boring the shit out of him.

Hands of Orlac get in and get out without overstaying their welcome. The Italian spoken horror interludes are brief - they add and don't detract from the experience. And throughout it all the songcraft is top notch - with moments of grandeur like the Iron Maiden-ish twin leads at the end of "A Ghost Story". The mood is largely doom and the "Mill of the Stone Women" is a good reference point for their sound. They are not going to beat Electric Wizard at their game - few can - but they'd fit nicely as a Satan's Satyrs like opening act. Definitely worth picking up for those into this style of heavy music.

4 out of 5

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