Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Forgotten Gems: Black Hole-Land Of Mystery

City Records

It's been slightly over a month since my last Forgotten Gem post so, as a way of saying sorry (and hopefully making up for any laziness on my part), today's entry will be something quite "different". Of course in this case different is a very good thing. So, with that said let's all get into Mr. Peabody's WABAC machine because this one takes place a long time ago. Come to think about it, "Land Of Mystery" also sounds as if it takes place in a galaxy far, far away so maybe a quick trip in the TARDIS is in order? Either one of those two options would make sense in a way as this LP is "out there". In all seriousness, Black Hole was/is a real walk on the weirder side of life. Given the band mate's "names" that greet you as you open this album ("the present", "the mysterious future" and "the past") it's obvious that these three (the "real" names being: Luther Gordon-drums, Robert Measles-vocals, bass, synth, organ, pedals and Nicholas Murray-guitar, pedals) were slightly off kilter. Formed in Italy, in 1981, Black Hole would release a pair of demos before issuing this treat in 1985. If 1985 sounds like a long time ago to you then your not alone. It sure does seem as if it has been an eternity since the mid-eighties to me and when I listen to an album like this it seems as if it was a different world to. If you were to do a quick search for Black Hole (or were to ask around) more then likely you'd walk away with the tag "Italian heavy/doom". Technically that would be a correct assessment. The thing is that description only tells part of the story. The real truth behind the album is much more "colorful". "Land Of Mystery" is so much more then just heavy metal/doom metal. While the doom aspect is true this isn't so much a Black Sabbath love-in. It's more of an overall feeling of dread and despair that happens to unfold in a manor similar to doom. Perhaps you could say there is some Candlemass/Witchfinder General to be found but then again how do you describe the elements that sound like they should be straight out of a "horror movie sound-effects" LP? With that as a thought it should be pointed out as well that there are moments when this album cuts close to the NWOBHM scene (the band Pagan Alter comes to mind as does Legend and to a tiny degree the band Hell) and then there are times when the synthesizers and organ parts kick in and things get really interesting! Comparisons have been made to the cult band Death SS (it's easy enough to see that considering the way in which Black Hole comes off) and that is fair enough I guess. Really, Black Hole are just one of those bands that has to be heard to be fully and truly appreciated. While the group did release another album from all accounts it is just this little slab of original metal that is worth tracking down. My personal copy is from Shadow Kingdom Records so it has some lovely demo tracks added to the mix. There hasn't been a day that went by that I don't thank the heaven's that I took a chance and rolled the dice on this Forgotten Gem. I bought it just from the album art and let me just say that the art fits the music perfect! If weird doom metal with NWOBHM styling, horror elements and even some "let's all take acid" progressive rock moments sounds like something you have been waiting your whole life for then you are in luck! It is all that and more....

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