Friday 12 November 2021

Black Willows - Shemurah (Album Review)

Release Date: October 23rd  2021. Record Label: Self Released. Format: DD/Vinyl

Shemurah - Tracklisting

1.Communion 19:33

2.Interlude I 02:24

3.Ascent 18:06

4.Interlude II 03:39

5.Blindness 10:51

6.Annhihilated 08:07

7.Anathem 10:57

8.Aphorism 06:13


Guitar and Vocals: Aleister Crowley, 

Bass: Sacha Ruffieux, 

Drums and Piano: Erik Dettori


Psychedelic Shamanic Doom/Stoner Metal Overlords - Black Willows - return with their epic new album Shemurah and this is their most complex and heaviest offering yet. Moving between YOB based Doom Metal landscapes and Distorted Ambient Drone Textures, this album isn’t a sprint but about a dozen marathons put together. The album runs for 79 minutes and it’s a long journey if you’re feeling brave enough. 

There’s a lot to take in with slow-paced Drone grooves that feel like a lighter version of Sunn-0))) but still wildly intense at the same time. Punishing Doom based breakdowns with the gloomy psychedelic guitars are one of the main strengths for this album. 

The opening track Communion is almost 20 minutes long with Black Willows pushing the boundaries of their creative powers with a stunning array of heavy doomed out sounds that veer off into Stoner Metal atmospherics with a memorable “LOW & SLOW” approach but with the song feeling it’s been broken into individual chapters. It’s quite a slow-paced song but still holds your attention with Black Willows bringing a highly energetic vision that sees plenty of room to play some long drawn out riffage.

Second track Interlude is another fantastic slice of nightmarish Doom/Stoner Metal played at Black Willows delicate slow leisurely pace where the guitars have the perfect mix of delicate quietness and heavy sludgy grooves. 

The album sees Black Willows harness the power of YOB’s Ambient based Doom/Stoner Metal with the raw power and intensity of CONAN but with the droning forces of SUNN-0))) levelling everything off in the background. The vocals are plentiful and sparse when they appear. More Shaman based that your usual style of singing with vocalized chanting being the main order of business.

There are a lot of Ambient soundscapes and textures littered throughout the album and mostly come into play on the more lengthy songs such as Communion, Ascent, Annihilated and Anathem.

Some of the songs are quite hard to fully describe as Black Willows run crazy with their ideas but they are fully in control with the album being an absolute SONIC delight when everything comes together. The first half of the album may be the strongest aspect about this album but overall this is a wonderfully bleak album to listen to if you like your music one the slower side of life but with a menacing feel to it.

The instrumental work is EPIC with the band proving their music credentials here. Everything has its place on this album with the listener being treated to some serious high levels of AMPLIFIER WORSHIP that may see some listeners put the volume way down like I did. 

Overall, Shemurah is a wonderfully complex and highly challenging record that will offer folks their just rewards once they’ve taken everything in. 

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

You can buy Shemurah On DD/Vinyl now from here.


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