Folks, it is my pleasure to announce that it is now time to riff. Not only is it time to riff, it is also time for a Michael Moorcock reference, that most illustrious of metal’s many literary sources. You see, we’re premiering a song by Ohio-based riff addicts Blessed Black, off of their upcoming album Beyond the Crimson Throne, an album which has track names like “Stormbringer”, “The White Wolf”, and, indeed, “Arioch’s Bargain”. This latter track, which we are premiering today, takes its name from Arioch, a Lord of Hell in the Eternal Champion saga. Seriously, if you’ve not read Michael Moorcock, go do it right now; his fantasy is the equal of only the greatest of the genre’s master and blends anti-war, anarchism, and kick ass adventure into one heady mix. But go read it after you spin the new track from Blessed Black below because the chunky riffs contained therein are the perfect soundtrack for some sword and sorcery.
Blessed Black are really not concerned with frills, apologetics, or anything else other than playing low, slow, and full of fuzz. The entire album is a nonstop belter of riffs; while Blessed Black don’t exactly re-write the book on this kind of stoner metal, they definitely execute the genre’s tropes to perfection, creating a high octane, head-bang inducing, feast of guitars, prominent bass, and great, throat-y vocals.
Lyrically, this album does a great job of taking Moorcock’s fantasy and doing what the man always intended with it, which is apply it to our every day lives. Says the band:
“Arioch’s Bargain” was one of the earlier songs we wrote as a band. Our bass player at the time (Jens Nielsen) brought the main riffs of the song to practice one day. The whole band started jamming on them, and it all just fell together fairly fast and easy. We loved adding in a song with a little bit of a faster tempo and slamming feel to it.
Lyrically, it continues the album theme of the story of Elric of Melnibonè and in particular a place in the story where he is desperate for help in getting to his lover who was kidnapped. He uses a spell to call out to the chaos lord Arioch, although he knows that in doing so he shifts the balance in his life into the hands of chaos. I think everyone has found themselves in a situation where we have made a hard call out of desperation, so that part stood out to me quite a bit.
Beyond the Crimson Throne, with its absolutely sick artwork, releases on January 17th. Head on over to their Bandcamp and await its release, until which you can stream two more tracks from it which were released as an EP in 2018.