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Album Review
In The Devil’s Days

In The Devil’s Days
by The House Of Capricorn


Review Date
11th November 2011
Reviewed by
Ricardo Kerr

Steadily ascending the ladder of recognition, The House Of Capricorn are proving that they are one of New Zealand’s hardest working outfits. Getting on the bill with touring genre favourites such as Clutch, High On Fire, and Brant Bjork (Kyuss, Fu Manchu), it appears that their uncompromising breed of hard hitting doom rock is catching on. The House Of Capricorn have now released In The Devil’s Days, their second album in as many years and it shows them growing as a band in terrific leaps and bounds.

The air is thick with dread as can be heard from the very first strangled notes of the opening track, ‘All Hail To The Netherworld’. Leading off with their best foot forward, it is a tough propulsive tune that aims squarely at the neck area. As devious as that song was the band switches to a strange new gear for ‘Les Innocents’ that follows. It wears its Black Sabbath influence on its sleeve and sounds remarkably like the title track from their legendary self-titled debut (that would be the song ‘Black Sabbath’). The doom metal is ratcheted up to eleven as the tortured guitars and drums crawl along to a funeral dirge. Three songs like this dot the landscape of In The Devil’s Days like foreboding black mountain peaks. You can spot them a mile off; they’re the ones that stand at or about the ten minute mark. B-side highlight ‘Horns’ looms like an unfurling black cloud over a fearsome 14 minutes. The House Of Capricorn have learned what bands like Sleep, Electric Wizard, and Melvins have been teaching for years: slow can be heavier that fast ever could hope to be. The sparse acoustic interlude ‘Canto IV’ (that’s ‘Song 4’ in English) is spooky in how isolated it is, as if the strings are being plucked from straight out of the void.

There are also the shorter songs that punch things up and give you an adrenaline-filled oasis between the sludgy passages. The piercing opening riff of ‘Coffins & Cloven Hooves’ lets you breathe a little easier, as rough as it might be. Behind all the metal posturing there is a cruel sense of melody that makes it all sound so effortless and quite fun as well. The booming tribal beat that opens ‘To Carry The Lantern’, a track that languishes in a soup of down-tuned scum rock, lopes along at a commanding pace. The title track that closes out the album ignites the burners one last time but still drags its feet in the murky undertow. It is a terrible fusion of the might and horror found all through the album. Those tormented Tony Iommi-isms return to slow the song’s bridge down to a desperate death march that threatens to block out the very sunlight from the sky.

In practically every way In The Devil’s Days is a more complete album than the admittedly well-done The Sign Of The Clover Hoof. More detail has been put into texture and atmosphere making it a more mature listening experience. This extends to the performances herein – they are thick and relentless. Everywhere you turn you can feel the walls closing in and devil’s flitting around just beyond your vision. If this is the rate at which The House Of Capricorn are maturing and finding their formidable voice then we eagerly await album number three.


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