“Cornucopia Della Morte”

By Dr. Abner Mality

Listening to Blizaro is like going on one of those old carnival funhouse rides where you never knew what was going to come flying at you out of the dark. Expect the unexpected and you won’t be disappointed! This is one hell of a wild trip courtesy of the very talented John Gallo, known as the guitarist for the traditional doom band Orodruin. In Blizaro, Gallo lets his imagination and his fingers both fly.

The band is extremely retro in its stylings but in a way that’s a lot more creative than just the usual boilerplate imitation of Sabbath, Zeppelin and old metal. It’s clear Blizaro loves anything coming out of Italy, as there is a a lot of influence from old Italian horror prog bands like Jacula and Antonius Rex. Keyboards play a big part in creating atmosphere and they can sound like anything from 70’s analog synth to Jon Lord style majestic Hammond organ to spook music from an Italian giallo film. But there’s tons of doom and power riffing as well and I feel confident in saying almost no guitarist alive sounds more like early Tony Iommi than Johnny Gallo. Just listen to the Iommi-style licks on “Altered State” or the pounding “Frozen Awakening”. There’s a lot of taste in that playing. More surprising to me are John’s excellent vocals…rich and fruity, very much in the tradition of 70’s prog and a great accompaniment to the music.

Every tune here has its charm, but I loved the instrumental “Giallo”, which sounds like Fabio Frizzi or Goblin chasing you through a tunnel while wielding a knife. A perfect merger of oldschool keyboard prog that turns into a killer metal jam with more screaming guitar. “Frozen Awakening” is the heaviest and doomiest tune, which could have come right from Orodruin.  There’s a strong cover of Paul Chain’s “Voyage to Hell” which is definitely payment of a debt. “The Staircase” starts in total 70’s horror soundtrack mode with a creepy keyboard attack but ends with an explosive climax. 

This whole album is a trip and in many ways it resembles the purple nightmare vision on the cover. More than just another doom or retro rock album, there’s some originality here as well as tribute to a great era of music. A real highlight of 2016 so far!