Beastmaker Has Arrived

Beastmaker‘s debut, Lusus Naturae, has finally arrived on wax. The collection of heavy, Black Sabbath-worshipping, hazed-over riffage was due back in March but pressing issues delayed it until now. As promised by the Fresno based trio’s single, Lusus Naturae is collage of 70s-tinged metal. The whole album focuses on groove over grind for a feel that is dark without being abrasive.

Lusus Naturae starts with far-off bells before slinking into sludgy riffs and lyrics about sorcery. In other words, “Clouds in The Sky” sets the tone for the rest of the album. Part Dungeons and Dragons lore, part satanic heaviness, part cymbal driven song, “Clouds in The Sky” is the perfect beginning to an album that delivers metal back to its primal roots.

The album title literally means a “play on nature” or, metaphorically, a freak of nature. Since Beastmaker’s lyrics revolve around hybrid monsters and terrifying amalgamations of bodies while their instrumentation blends the tones that made Sabbath and Pentagram metal pioneers with a contemporary twist, it’s easy to understand why the band chose this title. The trio’s ability to make hybrids gives the entire album a traditional and fresh feel.

About a third of the way through Lusus Naturae is the song “Skin Crawler.” The feedback-fueled sludge-fest does well to work a grooveable current from start to finish without sounding predetermined. ‘Skin Crawler,” like the rest of the album, manages to give its listeners a continued sense of discovery as it references past and present metal and as its repetitions coil around themselves.

The album unspools much how Windhand’s Grief’s Infernal Flower does–its songs revolve around a fractured narrative to create a labyrinthine story. Lusus Naturae runs through a world inhabited by giant spiders, paranoia, and smokey riffs. What more could you want from an album?

The penultimate song is also the title track. “Lusus Naturae” separates from the monolithic march that had defined the album to that point. Its staccato bridges and pauses offer a turn without aesthetically altering the album. “Lusus Naturae” acts as a volta of sorts–showing that Beastmaker is as nimble as they are brutal. The track is a perfect way to wrap up Lusus Naturae.

Despite the Sabbath/Pentagram worship that is undeniable from start to finish of Lusus Naturae, Beastmaker has created something that is distinct from its predecessors. Its references allow the band to explore the psych metal song structure in a way that makes the album fresh. Lusus Naturae is the perfect album for any fan of heavy, monster filled stoner metal. Lusus Naturae is the perfect album for any fan of Dungeons and Dragons. Lusus Naturae is the perfect album for those who like their solos thick and their riffs crunchy.

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