Blame Jus Oborn, crabby despot of English doom-metal outfit Electric Wizard. Like a hapless sap twisting the Lament Configuration in a “Hellraiser” flick, Oborn, in sacking drummer Mark Greening and vilifying Rise Above label head Lee Dorrian, unwittingly conjured an unholy trinity. First, Greening reconnected with fellow erstwhile Wizard Tim Bagshaw, his rhythm-section partner on landmark 2000 LP “Dopethrone.” The pair then linked up with Dorrian, the former Napalm Death vocalist whose long-lived doom-stoner juggernaut, Cathedral, dissolved in 2013. On the trio’s self-titled debut, Bagshaw’s obsidian fuzz on guitar and bass congeals potently with Greening’s elephantine lurch; Dorrian’s howl matches the baleful peaks he achieved on the first and last Cathedral albums. Yet amid the Sabbath-ian undertow is ample range: gallows swing on “The Cross,” understated guitar heroics on “Nephthys,” obsessive meditations in “Living With the Dead” and “I Am Your Virus,” even desolate beauty on instrumental bonus track “Celestial Suicide.” Selfishly, you have to hope these guys held onto a few demons to purge another day.
ESSENTIAL “Nephthys”Steve Smith can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @nightafternight.