Centurions Ghost - Blessed and Cursed in Equal Measure
The Church Within Records
Doom Metal
8 songs (46:45)
Release year: 2010
Centurions Ghost
Reviewed by Charles
You aren’t going to find surprises in Blessed and Cursed in Equal Measure if you’ve heard the band’s previous work, particularly 2007’s The Great Work. This is kind of a workmanlike band, but I don’t mean this to come across in a patronising way. I’d be kind of an ass if I did, given that they rock far harder than I could do even if I was made of granite and had a penis shaped like a flying V guitar. It’s just that as with a lot of sludgey doom, this is about riffs and groove; two things that are often taken for granted by those of us that self-indulgently search for new experimental musical trinkets. I first heard of Centurions Ghost when they supported Candlemass, and whilst they lacked the tunefulness of the headliners their gritty approach was a nice counterpoint.

This is slow, heavy, and headbangingly catchy doom-death. The riffs are crunchy and dense, and their infectious but aggressive energy probably defines the band more than anything else, Mark Scurr’s hardcore-scream/hoarse croon vocal gears included. They strike a balance between crunching, aggressive scuzz and brilliant bluesy swing, which is my way of rewriting Zadok’s description of them (in his Great Work review) as “Entombed meets Cathedral”. Good lord, some of this is stomping. Wizard of Edge is one high point, clattering about like a gurning hardcore elephant in an Iron Monkey shirt, before accelerating into a bouncing bluesy groove with widdly solo. Similar things, in fact, could be said for pretty much any track here picked at random.

Therein lies the problem,as well, though-its a bit too consistent, meaning it lacks some colour. Unlike the greatest doom bands it never quite produces those perfect party-starting riffs that remain in your head, encircling your brain in perpetuity. That’s probably missing the point, as this band is markedly more aggressive than the kinds of bands that do that, and doesn't seem to value tunefulness or atmospherics as much. There is a slight sense of adventure, but it is kept within the strict confines of the final track, Temple, a nine-minute voyage that at times evokes one of Cathedral’s gnarly epic numbers (e.g. Templar’s Arise) and the sci-fi synth fun that greatly enhanced albums like Acid Witch’s Witchtanic Hellcinations. Murky samples and blurts of female choral vocals give this a woozy, hallucinogenic edge. You'd struggle to call this an exciting album, though.Pumping and energetic? Yeah, that'll do.

This is a worthy band, capable of really tearing it up, and one which can be relied on to produce tune after tune of swinging, heavy doom. On their next one I’d like a something a bit more unexpected, though.

Killing Songs :
Temple, Powerful Sense of Dread
Charles quoted 77 / 100
Other albums by Centurions Ghost that we have reviewed:
Centurions Ghost - The Great Work reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
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