“Vibe” is a word that is thrown around pretty regularly when talking about 70s-inspired Doom. Huge walls of amps, weed, Les Pauls, Rickenbackers, bell bottoms…you know the score. Vibe isn’t tangible, it’s a vague term to define, but when it’s firing in music – it’s undeniable. And on Beastmaker’s debut album Lusus Naturae (Freak of Nature), the vibe is most certainly there.
With a couple of demos and an EP already under their belts, Lusus Naturae is out through Rise Above Records – which should give you an indication of what to expect. Despite hailing from Fresno, California, there’s a distinctly British vibe (there’s that word again) to the album. Cult horror film nods (The Mask of Satan in particular) and an aura of dread hover like spectres, while the unashamedly vintage sound allows each instrument to breathe clearly while never allowing the music to suffocate under its own weight. Cleaner moments appear frequently to heighten bleak and lonely moods before returning to the familiar rocking trudge, punctured by the occasional fuzzed-out guitar lead. Vocals in this kind of doom are cool when they sound like they’re being delivered by a zombie – and that’s exactly what they’re doing here.
“When it comes to genre, I think of us as a much slower version of the Misfits or Danzig, but I’ve come to love the word ‘Doom,’ whether or not it really relates to us. It just feels like home,” says guitarist/vocalist Trevor William Church. Alongside the usual suspects like Sabbath, Pentagram and Witchfinder General, Lusus Naturae drips with a psychedelic resonance that never detracts from the rolling grooves that the band kick out and lock into. It’s an album that benefits from repeated plays and volume.
It’d be easy to dismiss a band like Beastmaker in 2016. We’ve already got Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Witchcraft, Electric Wizard, etc. Naysayers will undoubtedly dismiss Lusus Naturae as yet another attempt to recreate Vol. 4. But really, who cares? This album rocks. Beastmaker are by no means doing anything new, but listening to this release, they don’t need to be because what they’re doing here, they’re doing really well. Crank this one up, turn your brain off for 45 minutes and soak up the vibes, maaaaaaaan!