mercoledì 21 aprile 2021




 Hailing from the City of the Two Seas, Italian doomers BRETUS return with a new album of ghost stories. Longtimers know that Bretus and Doomed & Stoned practically grew up together. Though the band has been active since the turn of the century, our first exposure came with their debut full-length ‘In Onirica’ (2012) and subsequently we formed a friendship with the Catanzaro doomers that continues to this very day. It’s hard to believe they’re already over two decades old (okay, 20 years young, if you like). And what do they have to show for it? A handful of LPs, an EP, and a split with fellow Italianos Black Capricorn.

If you’re as much a fan of vintage horror movies, H.P. Lovecraft lore, mysticism, and the occult as Zagarus (vox), Ghenes (guitar), Janos (bass), and Striges (drums), there’s a whole world of story and sound awaiting your deep dive into the Bretus catalog. Adding to their already excellent discography, a fifth album now reveals itself: 'Magharia’ (2021).

I won’t spoil my interview with the band (see below) if I tell you that the album concerns, shall we say, several tales of the supernatural variety. An ominous gong is struck to the backdrop of monastic chant as Magharia opens in epic fashion “Celebration of Gloom,” a song characterized by a chugging proto-trash tempo, trve metal stylings, and Gothic vocals appropriate to it’s subject. It’s a rather grim account of a certain sacrilegious priest and his daliences with young women of the church. As a preacher’s kid, I’ve seen this kind of thing play out a hundred times and can assure you these sweeping romances between clergy and laity never end well. In this case, it winds up with a ghoulish rite and a victim’s vengeance.

“In the sky lightning strikes…wicked laments rise from the ground.” Welcome to “Cursed Island.” True to the spirit of the lyrics, this track really let’s it all hang out, with quasi operatic vocals that occasionally erupt in maniacal laughter (reminding me vintage Reagers-era Saint Vitus, with its lusty swagger). And why not? This is after all about the mystery that surrounds one of the most haunted islands on earth.

Thus far, the record’s been sporting a pretty up-beat pulse, so surely you’re ready for some good old fashion doom? “Moonchild’s Scream” concerns a albino girl accused of being possessed by the devil for her appearance. One day, she disappears in the dungeons of a castle and legend has it that her cries can still be heard every five years during the Summer Solstice. Doesn’t get more doom than that, folks!

After a brief interlude (“Necropass”), we arrive at my favorite track of Magharia. “Nuraghe” concerns the spirit of a woman judged and condemned for a crime she was innocent of still roams among the ancient stones. Boy, the ancients sure did have a hang-up with free-spirited, independent women, didn’t they? The song itself is possessed by the spirit of Pentagram in its biting guitar work and rhythmic attack. Love the riffage on this one! Some of it could have been played out just a little more for my taste, like the all-too-brief Soundgardenesque motif at the two-minute mark. It returns a minute later, again in brief. C'mon Ghenes, let your inner Kim Thayil loose! Maybe we can convince them to improv at this point with a bitchin’ guitar solo at their next festival appearance. Then again, perhaps this fits artistically with the song, which speaks of obscure “grim dancing bats” and a ghost that haunts through swift shadows passing over glimmers of light. Once again, Zagrus expressive song style comes through to distinguish this as a gem of the genre. I shall be revisiting it on my personal playlist often.

“Headless Ghost” strikes graceful Goatsnake groove as the yarn is spun about the restless and tormented soul of an ancient Roman warrior who has risen from his place of rest. All he wants is the skull that was looted from his place of burial. Give it back to him! “No one will be spared tonight,” the lyrics warn, as the song shifts down to a dire doom dirge as the night unveils a strange moon and the wanderings of a cursed soul, seeking his head and not more. “He is living again in this hell.”

“The Bridge of Damnation” is one of the creepiest of the record, said to be about “a bridge, a young boy, and his three torturers.” The mood is quite dark, with esoteric atmosphere, reverberating vocalizations, guitar and bass trading off notes. Oh, and did I mention this tale from the crypt involves death and resurrection, as well? The riffmaking and drumming are absolutely on point, as is the singing – which by now in the record I’m not only am accustomed to, but have grown to admire. Another keeper!

“Sinful Nun” winds and grinds as Zagarus croons about the inner torment of a Sister who has never gotten over her beloved, who died under such unspeakably tragic circumstances that she decided to consecrate herself to God in celibacy. However, her vows are in vain as she still pines for her long lost lover. The verses are sung to the accompaniment of a galloping tempo, which seems to represent the fevered anguish of a soul forever stricken by grief and the haunted memories of lost love. This is juxtaposed in the chorus by a cursed riff that seems to speak as the Hand of Fate itself. “Farewell to this life,” are the Sinful Nun’s final words.

At last, we reach the album’s namesake and though “Magharia” is entirely instrumental, it would be a mistake to assume you know what it’s going to do. Around the four-minute mark, I had to check and make sure I was listening to the same album, as dark synth busted out a metronomic rhythm, leading to a declamatory section of keyboards to accompany the math-like guitar play and an improvisation of almost creepy seventies-sounding prog, which after its playful fit dissipates suddenly in a bluesy collapse.

Bretus have cooked up a remarkable horror soundtrack that, though it speaks of ancient lore, is very much a fitting backdrop to the unreality of our own times. Fitting somewhere on the stylistic spectrum between Candlemass and Paul Chain, Reverend Bizarre and Cardinals Folly, Margharia may be the band’s finest effort to date. Certainly, it rewards repeated listens, and will haunt you for many years to come. Look for the record to drop this weekend (pre-order here), with multiple physical formats releasing via The Swamp Records (compact disc), Burning Coffin Records (cassette), and Overdrive Records (vinyl). Until then, you can stream it all, right now, right here!

Give ear…



Ma alla fine, cos’è la felicità? Una domanda banale, alla quale l’intera umanità sta cercando una risposta da sempre. Tra chi promette felicità in questo mondo e chi invece nell’aldilà, tra chi predica la rinuncia ai desideri e chi invece insegue l’ideale edonista, tra chi accumula oggetti cercando in essi una risposta e chi al contrario sceglie di fare a meno di tutto, tra chi la cerca negli altri e chi solo in se stesso, non sembra ancora che si sia trovata una strada per tutti. Sicuramente, uno dei percorsi che porta alla felicità risiede nell’abbandono dell’ansia della felicità, nella sua ricerca spasmodica, nel proiettare la felicità al di fuori, come fosse un qualcosa appunto da raggiungere, che ci sfugge continuamente e non un qualcosa che abbiamo già, che viviamo in ogni momento, sempre a portata di mano, mentre il tempo scorre; quando è passato, solo allora ci accorgiamo che la felicità è stata in quel preciso momento e nemmeno ce ne siamo accorti, occupati a sbattere la testa contro il vetro, come mosche che non possono conoscere altra strada che insistere, quando a volte, basta cessare e godere di quello che c’è, prima di riprendere il cammino. Un atto che non è il meschino e perfino vigliacco accontentarsi, ma capire e conoscere il valore di quello che si ha e di quello che si fa, godendo dell’atto creativo e del momento, come elementi di sé che ci spingono a conoscerci, in una ricerca inesausta, ma affatto convulsa e disperata e anzi appagante e costruttiva.
Chissà se i Bretus, profeti del doom nazionale, hanno mai pensato alla loro musica in questi termini e, certo, è strano parlare di felicità quando si commenta un disco del genere, che parla, rappresenta e celebra fino alla sublimazione proprio le sensazioni opposte. Eppure, ascoltando il quinto album della formazione, l’appena uscito Magharia, emerge fortissima la sensazione che i quattro abbiano appunto trovato, nel loro spettrale antro buio, a malapena rischiarato da una debolissima luce, che anziché portare conforto rivela forme e movimenti incerti, ma terrorizzanti, un angolo di vera felicità. Senza affanno, senza febbricitante corsa verso un intoccabile traguardo, ma anzi, afferrando e godendo della materia prima che viene plasmata e creata dalle loro mani, che ben conoscono i materiali e la formula della pozione, tanto che basta loro mescolarli, aggiungendo un po’ di quello e di quell’altro, per arrivare comunque a qualcosa di magico.

Tornati al Black Horse Studio nella loro Catanzaro, per i Bretus costruire un nuovo nerissimo album in un momento come quello pandemico sembra in realtà una cosa facilissima. Chissà se poi è vero, ma questa è la sensazione che promana da Magharia, quella cioè di quattro musicisti che conoscendo e amando il doom (e non solo), sanno sempre come renderlo diverso, senza rinnegarlo mai. In questo frangente, colpiscono in particolare due elementi, che caratterizzano in maniera determinante il disco: il primo è senz’altro l’aspetto testuale, che scorrendo i titoli, ci riporta inevitabilmente a leggende e tenebrosi fantasmi dell’immaginario italiano. Una soluzione che per una volta ci allontana dal terrore cosmico di ispirazione lovecraftiana, senza perdere però di vista la tensione, la paura dell’ignoto, l’elemento esoterico e di paura. Il viaggio nelle tenebre italiane si presta in maniera perfetta alle atmosfere cupe, dannate, opprimenti e materiali dei Bretus, fornendo lo sfondo iconografico e scenografico perfetto per il secondo elemento che caratterizza Magharia: le influenze prog settantiane, da sempre patrimonio compositivo del gruppo, che stavolta emergono da più parti, saldandosi lungo l’album al tipico doom di casa, che si abbevera alla fonte dei maestri Black Sabbath, Pentagram, Cathedral, Saint Vitus e poi diventa protagonista assoluto nell’ultima, stregata e stralunata composizione, Magharia, appunto.
Sin dalla prima traccia, che scopriremo poi essere una delle migliori del disco, veniamo letteralmente calati nell’atmosfera del disco, con una forte contrapposizione tra i pesantissimi riff di Ghenes e le parti di flauto che, come d’uso, conferiscono un’aura arcana e incantata tipicamente seventies; l’utilizzo di effetti e il flanger incrementa questa sensazione onirica, mentre l’interpretazione di Zagarus, così stentorea e dolente, dona un’ulteriore colorazione al brano. Si fa inoltre notare l’ottima presenza anche della sezione ritmica, ben esaltata dal mixaggio, che non appiattisce i suoni, ma lascia invece spazio al lavoro di Janos e Striges, ricordando i lavori dei Cathedral, in particolare Ethereal Mirror e The Carnival Bizarre. Un accostamento, quello ai Maestri inglesi, del tutto voluto: Cursed Island è infatti un evidente omaggio al riffing di Gary Jennings, ma il break centrale guidato dalle tastiere ci ricorda che i Bretus non sono dei semplici officianti dell’altrui grandezza e il brano ne conferma lo status ormai conquistato. Dopo l’intermezzo inquietante di Necropass ecco subito un altro pezzo da novanta, costituito da Nuraghe, con un riff da spostare di peso un trattore, a cui fa seguito la più movimentata e articolata Headless Ghost, in cui fa bella mostra di sé anche il basso e si fa notare l’ennesima ottima prova di Striges, mentre forse, in entrambi i casi, si sente un po’ la mancanza di un refrain più caratterizzante, che avrebbe esaltato al massimo i brani. Aspetto questo che viene invece recuperato in Bridge of Damnation, altro bel pezzo nel quale basso e chitarra duettano richiamando il movimento dell’acqua, mentre Zagaros declama da par suo i versi dannati della storia. Ultimo brano cantato, Sinful Nun si destreggia nel consueto repertorio dei Bretus, tra riff spettacolari e break spezzacollo, senza a dire il vero emergere in modo particolare, ma altrettanto senza demeritare. Chiusura col botto invece per la vera sorpresa dell’album: la titletrack strumentale che, con i suoi nove minuti di durata sfiorati, apre uno scenario nel quale è il dark prog settantiano di scuola Goblin a emergere prepotentemente. Prova strumentale di alto livello, che mette in mostra una perizia tecnica che forse in pochi si aspettavano da una band notoriamente molto concreta e poco concettuale, Magharia esalta invece l’atmosfera dell’album con la sua costruzione a stanze, che disorienta e incanta, mantenendo un’atmosfera lugubre e onirica, nella quale appaiono organo e passaggi arpeggiati, effetti sonori e continui movimenti che si avvicendano e ritornano, ammaliando l’ascoltatore e vincendo sotto tutti i punti di vista la sfida di una composizione così ambiziosa.

Incorniciato da un quadro che è una vera opera d’arte e che ben ci introduce alle atmosfere oscure e oniriche dell’album, Magharia non è insomma semplicemente il nuovo album dei Bretus, ma l’ennesima dimostrazione di vitalità e capacità compositive di un gruppo che sa quello che vuole e riesce sempre a fornire qualcosa di nuovo e diverso, disco dopo disco, senza ripetersi e invece arricchendo progressivamente la propria proposta. Sia attraverso un percorso lirico di indubbio fascino, sia offrendo nuove soluzioni musicali. Non che in passato fossero mancate le suggestioni prog o che Magharia introduca chissà quale novità in senso assoluto, ma appunto qua non andiamo cercando la pietra filosofale e non ci proiettiamo verso inafferrabili sogni di grandezza: la felicità consiste invece nella passione e nell’amore con cui si crea una materia conosciuta in maniera personale e sempre diversa, che non rinnega mai il proprio marchio d’autore, ormai consolidato, ma lo spinge costantemente verso nuove identità. Certo, nel fare questo, qua e là, sono ravvisabili alcune possibili ulteriori vie di miglioramento e non tutto l’album aspira ai livelli di capolavoro, con qualche brano che pur inattaccabile di per sé, potrebbe caratterizzarsi melodicamente in maniera più spiccata ma, al tempo stesso, una qualità del genere è difficile da garantire dopo anni e Magharia è l’ennesimo grande disco di una band che merita un plauso e molta attenzione.



Uma das maiores instituições do Doom Metal contemporâneo, o italiano Bretus, entrega nesse fatídico e ainda dissonante 2021, o seu quinto disco de estúdio — uma peça que de sacra nada tem chamada “Maghara”.

O sucessor de “Aion Tetra” lançado em 2019 chega com a difícil missão de superar ou ao menos equiparar-se ao fabuloso registro passado, e ele assim o faz com êxito; equiparando-se na proporção de qualidades que exibe e superando em destreza e nas colocações inteligentes e inspiradas que transitam entre os 70s e 80s. Sobre a destreza da banda ao evoluir sonoramente equilibrando-se entre décadas, ela é impar. Metal Lento, italiano, obscuro e ampliado por experimentações. Precisa dizer mais?

Gravado e mixado no  Black Horse Studio (Calábria) e ilustrado perfeitamente por Damiana Merante, também responsavel pela arte estupenda do “UnderMudBlues” (Lunar Swamp), o disco já abre em alto nível com “Celebration Of Gloom” — quer algo mais Doom que esse título? Faixa estupenda; rifferama vertiginosa, baixo e bateria sólidos e bem pronunciados. O vocalista Zagarus vai guiando a liturgia com a maestria de quem leu todos os manuais alquímicos e tem domínio pleno sobre os escritos ocultos. Compondo o primeiro rito ainda tem “Cursed Island” (clipe incrível) e “Moonchild’s Scream” (ambas impecáveis). O instrumental “NecroPass” divide o disco ao meio,  a partir dele temos faixas desprendidas de fórmulas, com alas amplas para experimentos e suculentas porções de Hard Rock e Heavy Metal, que são devidamente condimentadas com muito Groove.

“Nuraghe”, “Headless Ghost”, “The Bridge Of Damnation” são semelhantes em estrutura e desenvolvimento, embora obedeçam ao crescente de qualidade — uma celebração à santidade do Riff. “Sinful Nun” é visceral, energizada pelo oculto; batizada sob a lua cheia numa noite dedicada à bruxaria e rituais aversos aos que cristãos e cidadãos de bem pregam (nada é mais tradicional que ser antitradicionais). Designada como encerramento do ritual, a faixa que dá nome ao disco; “Maghara”; psicodelia pura, riffs penetrantes esterilizados no calor das chamas que devoram almas e êxtases dionisíacos proporcionados pelas teclas do também guitarrista, Ghenes. Simplesmente sensacional!

O Bretus vem construindo uma bela reputação na cena Doom mundial graças a sua fidelidade ao gênero, a sua sagacidade e inteligência ao saber experimentar e enriquecer sua música sem se ausentar das regras primais. Junto a essa reputação criou-se também uma tradição (ou maldição, se mais cabível for), a de nos agraciar com grandes e excelentes registros, sendo “Maghara” mais um belo acréscimo em sua discografia. Que o Bretus prossiga com sua adoração aos riffs, afinal, honrar o Deus Canhoto que os criou nunca é demais. Quanto a mão direita, bem, ela promete paraísos, mas a trilha sonora dos mesmos é muito chata!



Como uno de los lanzamientos más madrugadores del pasado mes de Mayo, “Magharia” supone la vuelta fugaz de los italianos Bretus, apenas dos años después del que fuera su anterior registro con “Aion Tetra” (reseña aquí).

Operística doom desde el lado más cercano a las huellas plasmadas por Saint Vitus o Trouble. Si usted es un seguidor de la vieja escuela  para el género doom, Bretus podrían estar entre tus nuevas bandas favoritas.

Como siempre mencionó, las influencias lo son todo, y con ellas vienen unos parecidos que a veces cometen el plagio y otras simplemente quedan en armonías familiares. De esta manera, podríamos observar como ese timbre vocal en la voz de Bretus es similar al de Eric Wagner.

Al fin y al cabo, todos estos son meras anécdotas para unos tipos que el pasado año cumplieron 20 años desde la fundación de este proyecto y que ahora llegan con este nuevo “Magharia” para celebrar tal gesta.

Como quinta entrega en su discografía, la expresión del lado más doom de los italianos resplandece más que nunca en su nuevo álbum. Todo siempre bajo una atmosfera espeluznante, orquestada por la voz de Zagarus, temible en muchos aspectos y adoptando todo un decorado de siniestralidad y horror, convertido en el mejor telón de fondo sobre toda la música que acontece en las texturas más oscuras de Bretus.

Desde su composición hasta su producción, siempre y cuando nos metamos de lleno hasta el tuétano en este “Magharia”, el respeto por la vieja escuela es máximo, incluso más allá de las influencias citadas, hay momentos del álbum que se pueden ver momentos Danzig, bastante familiares. También es verdad que ese timbre vocal es cercano en pistas como “Headless Ghost”. El mismo blues sabbathico se puede ofrecer en “The Bridge Of Damnation”, como su inmediata perseguidora. Sin embargo la perversa inmersión a las que nos somete “Magharia” para adentrarnos en los dominios más clamorosos de Bretus, se retuercen en “Moonchild’s Scream”, mientras que los minutos de “Nuraghe” nos meten de lleno en un sucio lodazal para conectar en términos más fangosos.

“Magharia” vuelve a dejar claro lo infravalorados que están este combinado de la provincia italiana de Catanzaro y es que más allá de sus muchos enfoques con los puntos más determinantes del doom de la vieja escuela y su posterior transformación, es en la extravagancia de Bretus dónde se saca lo mejor de la banda, desde su factura hasta su misma puesta en escena. Así son los italianos, completando un disco sumamente completo, adictivo y totalmente inquietante en su hábitat.


Almost like a bolt out of the blue it comes the long-awaited Magharia, new album and successor to “Aion Tetra" released in 2019 by Bretus, an Italian band that, over time, thanks to albums of excellent workmanship, has been able to attract and obtain consensus in the Italian and international Doom scene like few others other national formations have managed to do. This full-length has a captivating and original concept that tells scary stories of ghosts, between legend and myth, linked to the Italian territory.

The Doom proposed by the combo is particularly inspired, you can see it from the first track CELEBRATION OF GLOOM in which Zagarus's voice evokes, very thick guitar riffs capture and flute solos hypnotize. CURSED ISLAND has an Heavier Metal attitude but it’s the whole to work in the best way, Ghenes' guitar riffs and solos keep glued to the stereo while the rhythm section of Janos on bass and Striges on drums doesn't miss a beat. Memorable piece! The subsequent MOONCHILD'S SCREAM is more melodic and with an always doom fashion, in which the singing of the frontman is still particularly enveloping and epic recalling sacred monsters of the genre, while the instrumental and obscure NECROPASS acts as an opener to NURAGHE, a track between Doom, Heavy and Hard Rock characterized by solid guitar riffs and a gothic-flavored Zagarus demonstration in which, in my opinion, Stringes' work on drums is also fantastic. HEADLESS GHOST is another piece of incredible intensity, the band seems to bring the listener through its dark sound into the story, a capacity only pertaining to the great ensembles. Particularly incisive the double voices in the final part of the track in which the proposed Doom and the Classic metal show still great class.

THE BRIDGE OF DAMNATION is an amazingly epic piece, slower and more rhythmic in which even the gothic component of the band is in great evidence, everything is evocative and bewitching especially thanks to a great guitarwork among distortions, solos, and practically perfect riffs. SINFUL NUN, second to last piece of the album, highlights Bretus' full mastery of the proposed genre that makes each of their work now a classic of the genre (the magnificence of this song is truly incredible) and introduces MAGHARIA, an entirely instrumental title track based on acoustic guitars (in the initial part) and later on keyboards that create Goth-horror atmospheres, a territory that is not typical of the band's sound but that still increases the quality of the proposal since everything is done in a practically flawless and intense way.

Magharia is a superb, magnificent, and sublime work that confirms (if ever it were needed) Bretus’ greatness. An album that surely must be enjoyed by fans of classic Doom and which, in general, must not be missed by lovers of good music, especially those tied to more horror themes.



 Cos’è il vero doom? Sicuramente ciò che i calabresi Bretus suonano! Nel marasma di band che nell’ ultimo decennio hanno iniziato a suonare doom metal e generi derivati – o affini – credo che solo una bassa percentuale abbia saputo mantenere o interpretare in maniera innovativa le coordinate lasciateci in dono da mostri sacri quali Black Sabbath, Witchfinder General, Trouble, Saint Vitus, Pentagram, Candlemass o Cathedral. I Nostri fanno parte di questa bassa percentuale e, album dopo album, hanno accresciuto la loro popolarità e credibilità come pochi, partendo da una terra, – fatemelo dire – la Calabria, nella quale non è per niente facile essere qualcuno nel metal, mantenendo una continuità davvero invidiabile per altro. Con questo nuovo Magharia i Bretus giungono, infatti, al quinto album dopo l’altrettanto ottimo Aion Tetra. Della pubblicazione in CD si è occupata l’americana The Swamp Records, in LP l’ orgoglio nostrano Overdrive Records ed in cassetta la cilena Burning Coffin Recs.

Disco dopo disco il sound dei Nostri si è ingrossato parecchio, partendo da un low-fi sabbathiano fino ad arrivare a Magharia con un bel suono a là Cathedral da The Carnival Bizarre in poi, un suono che enfatizza alla grande i classici riff ‘70s di cui Ghenes è il Magister Magicus Supremus, per dirla un po’ con lo spirito occulto di noi italici. Se c’è qualcuno che ha nelle corde quello spirito e quell’attitudine dell’ heavy rock ‘70s è proprio lui. L’ottimo gusto, in realtà, è caratteristica di tutti i membri: Zagarus, con la sua voce settantiana, partorisce ottime metriche ed i suoi ritornelli sono come moniti di un oracolo all’umanità; Janos, ultimo entrato nella band, scrive con umiltà efficaci linee di basso, classiche e melodiche, senza peccare di egocentrismo, mentre le parti di batteria di Striges hanno un groove invidiabile e le scelte stilistiche sono degne di un Bill Ward che in quanto a gusto batteristico ha decisamente fatto scuola. Non in molti, tuttavia, riescono a rimarcarne i sentieri.

L’intuizione del flauto sulla traccia d’apertura “Celebration of Gloom” – che rimanda a Forest of Equilibrium – è testimone di quanto i Bretus siano dentro quello che fanno, di quanta passione abbiano per questo genere (che poi definirlo tale è riduttivo!). La titletrack, tuttavia, è quella che più mostra, a parer mio, il grande bagaglio musicale dei Nostri: una traccia strumentale in stile Goblin che chiude con un’aura di mistero un disco che eleva ancor di più la qualità del Metal italiano.



There’s nothing quite like some doom that doesn’t exactly fit in the mold of doom that’s catering to the classic sound of the style or overly heavy to appeal to people looking to be crushed by riffs at every turn. It requires real finesse to bring it to life properly, but it can easily suffer the fate of simply being boring if put in the hands of the not so capable, but if Bretus is anything, it’s certainly capable. Only two years since their last outing but their fifth full-length since their first nine years ago, this is undoubtedly the work that could be called their best yet.

After being a band for 21 years, it shouldn’t be any surprise to see the band in question have a real understanding of their sound to the point that every new album adds a new layer of intrigue and talent that makes every new effort something to be heard by any fan of modern doom. If anyone were to think that this fresh album, “Magharia”, would be any different, then I have nothing but a stern laugh to throw at you. It is at every single turn throughout the nine tracks that adorn this new album that we get what is surely the most mature work that Bretus has created by far up to this point, and it’s through the undeniable riffage paired with a grand understanding of precisely the kind of music that they want to make that “Magharia” takes on a life of its own the likes of which many bands wish they could create with the amount of life that we find seeping out of every second here. That makes for a truly compelling work that really knows to reel the listener in with a special blend that only doom can pull off in such quality even if no new ground is broken whatsoever, and I think that’s where the real magic of Bretus comes into play. There’s no clear goal to shake the world of doom to its core with this release as it really does just feel like dudes getting together to jam out some riffs while having a good time the likes of which they can translate through their performances on the stage and in the studio, and that attitude truly does permeate every moment of “Magharia” to immediately set it aside what some other bands aren’t able to bring forth for one reason or another. It’s with that passion that Bretus has managed to get better and better with time, and it’s part of the reason why they’re continuously an act that is more than worth coming back to time after time.

With the trajectory that Bretus has achieved over the last few years, I cannot see this band doing any wrong any time soon with their brand of doom being downright captivating in all the right areas even as doom often feels like it’s on a quest to be as heavy as sonically possible, but it’s here that we get a pleasant shift into the opposite direction. The very essence of “Magharia” is something to be admired, and with it permeating every single facet of this record, I cannot even dare to conceive a reason to dislike what Bretus has brought to the table for this engaging album.



Bretus are one of Italy’s well known and long-standing Doom Metal bands. As they’ve been going since 2000 and are still rocking within their 3rd decade of existence. The band have just released their 5th album with Magharia and it’s a record all toe top sounds and ideas that we’ve come to expect from the band. 70’s based Doom Metal with Occult Rock Swagger with the welcome additional sounds of Psychedelic Rock and modern based Stoner Metal.

The album starts very strongly with the creepy and hard-hitting opening song – Celebration Of Gloom – and there’s a lot to celebrate especially if you like your Doom Metal overflowing with cool ideas from the last 50 years of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. Bretus cover a lot of ground on this song with their eerie lyrics and gloomy sounds bringing a thrilling style of Doom/Stoner Metal that old-school fans of Saint Vitus and Candlemass will no doubt admire.

Second song – Cursed Island – carries on the twisted and gloomy “DOOM METAL” imagery from the opening song but brings a more modern Stoner Metal flavour to the mix. The vocals are OTT but they add a cool “Occult” atmosphere to the song with Bretus finding the time to play a wild and varied style of different guitar solos along the way.

Third song – Moonchild’s Scream – is a more classic offering from Bretus with slightly OTT vocals and lyrics allowing the band to focus more playing heavier and sinister grooves. The song starts very slow and is quite cautious at the beginning but soon builds up to become one of the most creatively interesting songs on the album. The Psychedelic vibes remind myself of Uncle Acid earlier studio output but Bretus perhaps bringing a more mature and violent style of music.

The first 3 songs allow the listener to see how Bretus will play out the rest of this superbly entertaining record but the band have more than enough tricks up their sleeve to keep the everything interesting and more varied on the later stages of the record.

Bretus bring more a more “Experimental” attitude on this record with excellent Psychedelic Sounds being some of the best ideas I’ve heard from the band recently. Magharia allows Bretus the opportunity to go slightly off-script for a Doom Metal Band and play things that you shouldn’t really expect to work so well.

Other great songs on the album include: Nuraghe, Headless Ghost, The Bridge Of Damnation and the fantastic instrumental title track – Magharia.

Magharia is an album with Bretus showing their fans that Doom Metal can be “FRESH, EXCITING and FUN”.

If you’re looking for a Doom Metal album that isn’t afraid to rewrite genre conventions from time-to-time, well BRETUS would like you to join their Demonic and Groovy Doomed Out Congregation.



Bretus is opgericht in het jaar 2000, en een cult-act binnen de Italiaanse doom metal scene. En zoals wel vaker, bij de combinatie Italië en doom gaan bij mij de oortjes gespitst. Het vijfde album Magharia is een concept-album gebaseerd op een paar van de meest beangstigende Italiaanse spookverhalen; ergens tussen legendes en mythen, waargebeurd of niet....

Het Italiaanse kwartet gaat in muzikaal opzicht - zoals gewoonlijk - geheel z'n eigen gang binnen het doom-firmament. Dat openbaart zich al direct in opener Celebration Of Gloom, waarin de dikke gitaarriffs en het stevige trommelwerk gezelschap krijgen van een hypnotiserend fluitje. Erg leuk gedaan hoor. Nog niet genoemd is de al even stevige vocale voordracht van de voorganger van dienst Zagarus. Tegen zijn heftige, volle preekstem kan geen priester op bedenk ik mij. Mede dankzij deze manier van zingen moet ik ter vergelijking nog al eens denken aan Luther Veldmark en Hooded Priest - ook zo'n eigenwijs doom-gezelschap.

Na het vlotte heavy metal-achtige Cursed Island wordt er met Moonchild's Scream weer serieus gedoomd; melodieus, bezwerend, episch. Vooral de machtige riffs sleuren je mee, waar doorheen Zagarus z'n best doet om de aandacht voor zich op te eisen. Wat een sterk samenspel. Het korte instrumentale intermezzo Necropass is evengoed te beschouwen als intro voor Nuraghe, dat doorgaat waar Cursed Island zo'n beetje gebleven was. Iets meer uptempo dan je misschien van doom metal gewend bent, maar daarom niet minder zwaar of dreigend. Hier komt ook wel een beetje de schatplichtigheid aan Black Sabbath bovendrijven, met z'n herhalende riffs en grooves.

The Bridge Of Damnation is een machtige, verhalende track die allerlei verschillende doom-elementen voorbij laat komen. Heerlijk meeslepend in al z'n mystieke dreiging. Sinful Nun doet daar nog een schepje bovenop, en is zelfs pakkend te noemen, en ook prima headbangbaar. Sowieso zijn de composities hier compact; verwacht geen ellenlang geneuzel, maar rechttoe rechtaan nummers, die vooral overtuigen door de dreigende atmosfeer.

Het afsluitende titelnummer Magharia is met z'n bijna negen minuten veruit de langste track van het album, en eigenlijk een beetje een vreemde eend in de bijt. Volledig instrumentaal, gebaseerd op akoestische gitaren in het begin, overgaand op keyboards, en halverwege een percussie-intermezzo, waarbij een duister goth-horror-sfeertje gecreëerd wordt. Echt een heel apart nummer, maar daarom niet minder fraai. Het kost wel wat tijd om deze te laten bezinken.

Bretus heeft mij met Magharia opnieuw overtuigd van hun kunst om epische doom metal te vertolken in overzichtelijke, vaak pakkende composities. De productie is - bijpassend - behoorlijk vintage gehouden, hetgeen hier absoluut een pre is. Houd je van bands als Candlemass, Saint Vitus, Hooded Priest en aanverwanten - of ben je bekend met andere Italiaanse doombands - dan is Bretus zeker ook voor jou! 


Les parisiens de Conviction avaient frappé fort en matière d’album doom-metal de référence en cé début d’année de merde 2021. Il était incontestable que le doom était la musique de cette époque troublée et incertaine. Raisonnaient alors comme des fantômes vivaces les albums mythiques de Pentagram, Saint-Vitus, Candlemass, Trouble et Count Raven. Ils étaient là, intacts, ne demandant qu’à ce qu’une âme perdue finisse par souffler la poussière sur leurs pochettes, et décide de poser le diamant sur le premier sillon. Ce monde perdu était peut-être le contexte propice à signer un pacte avec le Diable, si celui-ci nous permettait de nous extirper de notre vivant de cet enfer. A moins que ce pacte maudit ne soit celui signé par les influenceurs et autres imbéciles et arrogants de toutes sortes, préférant sacrifier l’avenir de nos enfants et l’existence du monde vivant sur l’autel du bling-bling écoeurant.

Conviction avait décidé de faire confiance au Malin, et comme nous tous, enfermés comme de pauvres erres entre nos quatre murs, nous espérions que tous ces sombres crétins brûleraient en Enfer, assaillis par les coups de fourche de Lucifer, qu’ils soient à Dubaï ou au Palais Vivienne. Le quatuor parisien dégoupilla un opus furieux et sombre, qui avait réanimé la fontaine à venin. Il ne sera pas le seul au combat. L’Italie a apporté le meilleur de ses forces avec le nouvel album de Bretus de Catanzaro, en Calabre. Bretus est en effet plus qu’un simple très bon groupe de doom. Bretus est déjà une légende, à la discographie débutée en 2009, et offrant déjà un EP et quatre albums absolument incontournables. Bretus a tout : le son, l’inspiration, la rythmique en acier trempé, et la voix unique de Zagarus.

Les grands groupes de doom ont toujours fait la différence grâce à leurs vocalistes originaux. Pas forcément virtuoses, pas forcément techniquement irréprochables, leurs timbres s’imposent comme des évidences, parce qu’ils sont les voix qui surgissent de la musique avec le plus grand naturel. Bobby Liebling, Wino Weinrich, Messiah Marcolin… ont tous cette voix unique qui surgit du goudron sonore. Olivier Verron a parfaitement accompli cette mission au sein de Conviction, Zagarus a l’expressivité d’un Bobby Liebling. Sa voix puissante, au phrasé incantatoire et possédé, est le grand atout de Bretus, en plus de compositions impeccables.

Bretus est aussi l’héritier mystérieux d’une scène musicale des plus captivantes. Chez eux, il y a évidemment Pentagram, groupe par ailleurs signé pendant presque dix ans chez Black Widow, label italien, entre la fin des années 90 et les années 2000. Mais il y a surtout une descendance directe avec les premiers enregistrements de Death SS, et de ceux de son guitariste, Paul Chain. Ces secrets incroyablement bien gardés de la scène dark-rock italienne surprennent encore par leur prolixité et leur identité unique. Paul Chain est un incroyable personnage, naviguant entre le doom le plus noir, les expérimentations électroniques et le heavy psychédélique. Bretus a émergé de ces eaux saumâtres, injectant de multiples apports créatifs : le cinéma fantastique de la Hammer mais aussi italien, les écrits de HP Lovecraft, le rock sombre de Goblin et le heavy-blues des suisses transalpins de Toad.

Magharia, la poursuite d'une oeuvre majeure
A vrai dire, peu de groupes ont cette force de frappe, et une telle identité sonore. Conviction n’en est qu’à ses premiers pas (forts réussis). Bretus est un groupe qui poursuit sa destinée créatrice, et continue d’assoir, album après album, leur identité musicale unique. Avec « Magharia », il est désormais tout à fait censé de dire que le quatuor italien est devenu une formation de référence du doom-metal. Chaque album offre ses failles et ses qualités, mais même ses défauts sont des qualités. Car si l’enregistrement peu se montrer un peu rustre, Bretus se joue de cette facette pour lui donner un aspect plus punk. Ce qui reste une constante, c’est la qualité des riffs, des mélodies et de l’interprétation. Qu’importe si Bretus n’a eu que peu de budget pour poser sa musique sur le vinyle. Il en ressort toujours vainqueur, toujours plus grand.

Et cela tient si incroyablement bien la route que même lorsqu’ils ont réédité leur premier EP de 2009 l’année dernière, la musique a une telle ampleur qu’elle ne souffre ni du temps, ni du maigre budget qui lui fut allouée. Déjà, les riffs de Ghenes tapaient fort. Déjà, Zagarus était un fantastique hurleur de doom. Il y avait toutefois encore une influence issue des non moins merveilleux Celtic Frost. Elle se fera bien plus discrète par la suite, un peu par dépit pour ma part. Ce côté sale et possédé posé sur des riffs gargouillants de wah-wah avait de quoi étourdir. ‘From The South’ s’impose comme l’uppercut heavy, le ‘Relentless’ de Bretus.

Il faudra attendre 2012 pour écouter le premier vrai album de Bretus : « In Onirica ». C’est un classique absolu, de ceux qui se comptent sur les doigts d’une main. Tout est parfait : le son, les riffs, la voix, la section rythmique, la pochette. Zagarus est devenu un incroyable conteur, modulant comme un possédé. Ghenes fait gronder sa guitare, empruntant à la quintessence du riff : Tony Iommi de Black Sabbath, Tony Bourge de Budgie, Jimmy Page de Led Zeppelin, Matt Pike de Sleep et High On Fire…

On entend déjà la critique se gausser : voilà de nouveaux Electric Wizard. Il n’est pas question ici de contre-culture branchée, ou d’en donner un aspect vintage aguicheur et comics à la Rob Zombie. Les musiciens cachent leurs visages sur les photos, et leurs vrais noms derrière un pseudonyme. Ils sont un groupe, une unité, qui produit une musique à prendre ou à laisser. C’est une démarche courageuse et intègre.

« The Shadow Over Innsmouth » de 2015 et « … From The Twilight Zone » en 2017 ne firent que confirmer les qualités incroyables de Bretus. « Aion Tetra » de 2019, chroniqué dans ces pages, assied la réputation d’une formation en pleine possession de ses capacités créatives. Le line-up de Bretus s’est stabilisé autour de quatre inconnus majeurs : Zagarus au chant, Ghenes à la guitare, Janos à la basse, Striges à la batterie. Le son est désormais solide, irréprochable. Les compositions cherchent la quintessence d’un monolithe d’ébène, et elles y parviennent. Mais que peut faire un modeste quatuor italien, aussi pourri de talent que Bretus, au milieu d’une telle crise ?

Les concerts étaient déjà parfois compliqués, ils ne sont désormais que des souvenirs. Bretus décida de retourner enregistrer à Catanzaro, au Black Horse Studio. Il n’était pas question de capituler. Après tout, l’ambiance sentait le souffre. Il était temps que le rock irrévérencieux reprenne du poil de la bête. Bretus arrive à point nommé avec « Magharia ».

Que faut-il en retenir ?
« Magharia » est un album ambitieux. Sa puissance est toujours indomptable, et aucun studio n’arrive à polir ce diamant noir. Bretus est un groupe qui rugit de fureur. La musique dégorge en d’amples langues de produits corrosifs. Toujours caché derrière une magnifique pochette d’album aussi mystérieuse que réussie et des photos de groupe énigmatiques, Bretus offre sa musique.

En ces temps troublés, Bretus s’est plongé dans l’héritage culturel de son pays, celui des conteurs de légendes et des mythes. Il est devenu indispensable de s’immerger au plus profond de ce qui alimente notre imagination et permet l’évasion intellectuelle, afin de ne pas dépérir peu à peu. Les gaillards de Bretus ont consacré leur temps et leur énergie dans un album dense non seulement musicalement, mais aussi en terme littéraire. Zagharus ne négligea jamais ses textes, et ce depuis le début. L’album « The Shadow Over Innsmouth » de 2015 avait été une première tentative, fort réussie, d’allier doom-metal et littérature fantastique, en l’occurrence l’oeuvre d’Howard Philip Lovecraft. Les autres albums étaient un agrégat savant de diverses influences : littérature, cinéma, histoire.

Avec « Magharia », Bretus revient à ce travail plus intense sur les textes, concentrant son album sur une source littéraire précise : les légendes et mythes de l’Italie ancienne. Chaque morceau est donc l’évocation sonore et lyrique d’une de ces histoires que l’on se racontait au coin du feu en tirant sur une vieille pipe d’écume. La culture populaire italienne regorge de ces légendes fantastiques, comme la Bretagne. Le pays, profondément agricole jusque dans les années quarante, n’est pas avare en contes étranges issus des campagnes. Se mêlent à ces légendes de paysans les paysages riches en monuments antiques, abandonnés, et donc hantés.

Ainsi, « Nuraghe » fait référence à une tour ronde que l’on trouve en Sardaigne, et remontant à plus de mille ans avant Jésus-Christ. L’Italie catholique a beaucoup fait pour effacer les traces des cultures païennes, comme ce fut aussi le cas avec les Celtes. Ce Nuraghe hanté pourrait être le réveil des Grands Anciens, comme l’évoquait aussi HP Lovecraft. Bretus invoque les esprits des temps anciens, cherchant à réveiller les consciences de citoyens abrutis par les écrans.

‘Celebration Of Gloom’ ouvre le disque de manière classique : un mid-tempo rageur, cognant fort dans la poitrine. Le résultat est réussi, notamment par les arpèges acides de Ghenes, et le chant de plus en plus virtuose de Zagharus. La rythmique de Janos et Striges est absolument sans faille.

‘Cursed Island’ est une torgnole de heavy-doom rugissant. Tout est en étendard : le riff presque punk, le chant fier. La wah-wah gargouille sur la guitare. ‘Cursed Island’ poursuit, c’est un hymne heavy sans concession. Il offre toutefois son changement abrupt de tempo et de climat, comme Budgie, avec ses orchestrations lugubres.

‘Moonchild’s Dream’ est peut-être la plus belle réussite de l’album. Son riff sinistre et ravageur tape comme une forge antique, poursuivi par la section rythmique. Le chant survole ce champ d’étincelles avec aisance. Le chant dramatique de Zagharus est du plus bel effet. Les caisses de Striges tombent comme un amas de ruines antiques sur une fulgurance de jazz, avant que le riff et le tempo ronflent, implacables.

‘Nuraghe’ convoque les esprits païens sur un rythme plus classique. ‘Headless Ghost’ poursuit ce rythme galopant avec toutefois un lyrisme vocal et un riff plus tendu. ‘The Bridge Of Damnation’ enfonce le clou du doom sépulcral, survolé par la basse fuzzée de Janos. ‘Sinful Nun’ est une cavalcade heavy implacable, chose inconnu chez Bretus. Le résultat est surpuissant, ravageur.

‘Magharia’ et ses presque neuf minutes déroute en fin d’opus. Ce morceau curieux, instrumental, psychédélique et mélancolique, presque desert-rock, est une incursion sonore dans la bande-originale de film. D’antiques synthétiseurs sont mis à contribution. Ce morceau profondément différent tranche avec le doom-metal, mais n’est pas si étranger que cela à la culture horror film et musique dark italienne. Cette étrange bande-son a le mérite d’ouvrir de nouveaux horizons. Je souhaite toutefois que le groupe ne perde pas son âme noire avec ces approches nouvelles et électroniques.

« Magharia », dans son ensemble, est un nouvel opus majeur. Il confirme l’incroyable personnalité artistique de Bretus, inscrite autant dans le doom ancestral que dans d’autres horizons plus psychédéliques. Son âme lettrée et son aura mystérieuse en font plus qu’un simple très grand groupe de heavy-metal noir. Ils sont d’ores et déjà dans la légende du doom-metal. 


Gli italiani Bretus professano l’occulto da oltre un ventennio e questo “Magharia” è il quinto album della loro valida carriera, a due anni dall’ottimo “Aion Tetra” (recensione qui). Doom, doom di qualità, pesante e maligno quanto basta, ricco di influenze metal e stoner le quali rendono più graffianti le ottime teorie melodiche, sempre capaci di creare angoscia, inquietudine, destabilizzazione mentale. Il nuovo lavoro parla di fantasmi nazionali, vagando tra leggende e miti, credenze popolari e superstizioni, un vagabondaggio tanto etereo quanto pregno di sangue. Ossessiva e devota ai Black Sabbath “Celebration Of Gloom”, una canzone che esalta il terrore con dissonanze apparentemente provenienti da un flauto maledetto. Incalzante e drammatica “Cursed Island”, si scende negli abissi con “Moonchild’s Scream”, brano che poi si addentra nel mondo dei morti con un riff pungente e decisamente azzeccato. L’intermezzo “Necropass” porta alla potenza micidiale di “Nuraghe”, canzone che cura qualsivoglia nostalgia per bands quali i Reverend Bizarre. Penetrante e molto heavy “Headless Ghost”, teatrale l’oscurità dell’ottima “The Bridge Of Damnation”, rocambolesca “Sinful Nun”, prima della lunga e conclusiva title track, uno strumentale che rivela le capacità compositive e musicali della band, ben oltre il regime ristretto del puro doom, più verso il metal di scuola Iron Maiden incrociato con musica horror della migliore scuola nazionale. Non a caso tastiere si intrecciano con riff metal esaltanti, con synth settantiani, con esplorazioni atmosferiche sulfuree e ricche di dramma, rendendo il brano un intenso, geniale e glorioso finale di un disco che immediatamente trascina dentro quella dimensione lugubre, nella quale ogni respiro è un lamento, l’assenza di luce cela unghie graffiano il metallo emettendo un stridio agghiacciante, mentre campane minacciose fanno da colonna ad un campo santo dimenticato, dal quale proviene il rumore del badile che fende la terra, lo scavo di un’ennesima fossa. Con intelligenti aggiunte e provocanti idee, “Magharia” rimane comunque un album che riesce ad evocare le sonorità migliori del doom, ricordando a tutti come debba suonare questo genere. Il doom è una fede, è un culto: la ricerca di modernismi o di nuove direzioni poterebbe ad un altro stile e non sarebbe più quel doom ossessivo, tetro, pregno di malvagità, quella musica che ipnotizza, terrorizza, suggestiona e coinvolge con sublime decadenza.



 Bretus are a doom metal band from the South of Italy, founded in the year 2000. Born to pay homage to the great interpreters of doom/stoner/psych, they cite old horror movies, H.P. Lovecraft, mysticism and 70’s music as their inspirations.

Magharia is their latest album, due out on May 7th 2021 digitally. With the CD being released via The Swamp Records (USA), vinyl via Overdrive Records (Italy) and the cassette via Burning Coffin Recs.

A concept album surrounding Italian ghost tales, legends and myths. Bretus have impressed us previously. With from the Twilight Zone in 2017 and Aion Tetra in 2019 but Magharia is a bit of a different beast. Not in regards to the old-school doomy noise they portray but rather, the way in which they choose to express it. The idea of basing the album on ghost tales and more adds an ethereal spookiness and wonder to the events.

 We have a gloomy record here but it’s also one with a ton of fuzziness and heavy groove. Lurching from doom to intense psych and beyond, Bretus are masters of making everything feel like liquid. Magharia is liquid heavy metal, filling up all the cracks and voids in a psyche with an array of sinister and sultry ideas. Is it sexy? It sure sounds it at times.

Don’t fear the extravagance that comes with such a blend, focus on the most important aspect of Magharia and that is its doom sound. It is what Bretus do so well, albeit with punishing aspects of heavy metal too. Here, they can be as groovy as they can be as heavy. As thick as molasses while as transparent as glass. As eerie as a dark, moonless night and as comforting as a warm fire.

Magharia should be an easy sell thanks to its addictive nature. Bretus deserve a ton more attention and hopefully this is the album that really gets them it. 



Vi siete mai svegliati con la voglia pazza di ascoltare una band o un genere? bene. Un paio di settimane fa mi sono svegliato con una voglia matta di doom old school. Avevo voglia però di musica nuova. Bocciati quindi i classici ascolti di genere. Sabbath, Candlemass, Pentagram e compagnia bella, mi sono ricordato che mi era arrivato il promo dei calabresi Bretus. Vecchia conoscenza di Doommabbestia e del sottoscritto, che si è imbattuto molteplici volte nella band nostrana. Tralasciando i facili complimenti di maniera che non piacciono a nessuno e fugando dubbi su possibili prevalenze dettate dallo stessa matrice di sangue latino che mi accomuna alla band, sono qui a dirvi che Magharia non deluderà ne i fans di veccia data, ne quelli che vorranno avvicinarsi per la prima volta ai nostri. Doom classico, massiccio, dal retaggio proto e dalle forti inflessioni Pentagrammiche, non solo per il cantato drammatico e teatrale, ma anche e sopratutto per il riffing e le atmosfere create, vedi la bellissima Cursed Island. Il bagnami del classic doom prosegue con Nuraghe, che sa più di ultimi Candlemass, mentre i rallentamenti sabbattiani di The Bridge of Damnation lasciano basiti per la maturità che la band ha raggiunto nelle sue composizioni. Album eccelso. Straconsigliati!!!



Maledictions of ancient tongues and unappeased spectres of the past conspire to create an eternal night!
Operatically inclined inflections adroitly orchestrate the malevolence-infused incantations as a twisted world creeps up on us. Each riff opens a door or creates a rift, allowing otherworldly horrors to surreptitiously enter our houses.
"Celebration of Gloom" is the harbinger of the phantom congregational ceremony. The dramatic vocals descend while the mean ambience causes them to fade slightly, imbuing this with an exaggerated sensation. Eidolon whispers, cackling, and other phenomena make this one hell of a ghost ode.
"Cursed Island" is a pretty straightforward doom rocker, but this doesn't mean that it is any less important than its brethren. While its atmosphere isn't the most chilling one, its gaiety is charming.
The title track seems to be some phantasmagorical revelation that offers insight into the origin of the midnight fiends. Arcanely silvery esotericism is emitted by the instruments of the respite-seeking oppressed ones. Both the eerily riveting and groovy ways of the keyboards embed this in an occult tale of curses and strange practices. Otherworldly pulchritude holds your hand as you walk towards the key to vanquish the implacably vindictive spirits, and tinges of eeriness keep you entranced.
The clear male voice that croons out evil anecdotes bears some similarity to Jim Morrison of The Doors, and sometimes shifting over to the style of Glenn Danzig. Certain moments have vaguely retro strummed chords, somewhere around the late 60’s or early 70’s, backed up with mid-paced, grooving crash cymbal drum beats within, bringing a sense of classic stoner metal. The chunkier, chugging riffs have an early 70’s sensation to them as well, feeling like old wandering riffs were sped up, as if classic doom was becoming early heavy metal. Many will hear “Magharia” as a classic stoner/doom album, although others might see it as mixing stoner/doom with the earliest of heavy metal.
"Magharia" is the apparitions' gateway to our world, and it is great Halloween doom metal that knows how to bring a smile to Dracula's face!


 Bretus excels at combining the wicked edge of doom metal with its potential for stoned-out-of-your-mind grooviness. Squelching lesser attempts at this fusion beneath its feet, Magharia is a murky and sinister jam session that feels like a step forward into even more weirdness for the Italian doomsters.


Magharia is Bretus‘ fifth full-length album and the official follow-up to 2019s Aion Tetra as 2020s Self-Titled EP, which I reviewed back in November, was a reissue of the 2010 original. The band, who hail from the city of Catanzaro or ‘the City of Two Seas’ (as it overlooks the Tyrrhenian Sea on the west and Ionian Sea on the east) are made up of Zagarus (vox/FX), Striges (drums), Ghenes (guitars/keys) and Janos (bass).

Bretus ‘Magharia’
The cover art (by DamianaMerante Art) taps into the band’s fondness for horror with ghoulish figures in the foreground and the agonised faces resembling the protagonist in Norwegian Expressionist artist Edvard Munch’s The Scream. This fondness expands further as according to the promo notes Magharia is ‘based on some of the frightening Italian ghost tales. Between legend and myth…’.

Celebration Of Gloom opens with some spooky atmospherics before some awesome crunchy guitar riffage comes to the fore. The track is a mix of the heavy blues metal of the first Danzig album as well as the spooky death-rock intonations of Samhain III: November-Coming-Fire. This makes for a vibrant and energetic opening track, so far so good. Cursed Island‘s main riff will give you neck ache with all the headbanging you’ll be doing. There is a definite Sabbathian vibe present and features the kind of riff Iommi would kill to write again at his now more advanced age.

Moonchild’s Scream reminds one a little of the epic doom metal of Candlemass, while Zagarus‘ vocals bare more than a passing resemblance to Messiah Marcolin. There is something overwhelmingly joyous about the sheer bombast of the track and hopefully Bretus will record their own Bewitched style music video as a result of reading this. Necropass the shortest track on the entire album at 1:18 is the first of two instrumentals, a somewhat mellow yet eerie piece that sounds like it was recorded in a cavern, and serves as something of a breather.

a mix of the heavy blues metal of the first Danzig album as well as the spooky death-rock intonations of Samhain III: November-Coming-Fire…

Nuraghe is a megalithic tower with a truncated cone shape that existed during the bronze age on the island of Sardinia. The track bearing its name has a ‘megalithic’ feel to it with a sound that reminds one of the NWOBHM intonations of Trouble. Headless Ghost keeps up the momentum and excitement while the inclusion of Zagarus‘ vocals gives you an idea as to what it would sound like if Glenn Danzig ever decided to front a traditional doom metal band.

The Bridge Of Damnation is a nod to The Obsessed and their brand of biker doom metal, especially on that band’s The Church Within. It certainly captures the chemistry that existed between Greg Rogers, Guy Pinhas and Wino at that time, with a meaty sound that has been perfectly captured here. There is even some Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds style darkness present too. Sinful Nun reminds me a little of Slayer in places, the track definitely has a little more speed than we have heard so far.

Finally, we have Magharia, the second instrumental on the album and by far the most experimental, seemingly an out of place number on here. The track demonstrates a proggier side to the band with synths in tow and volume toned down in favour of technicality. The track brings to mind Zombi’s retro 80s prog-synth work and makes for a curious, yet effective, conclusion to the album.

With this album Bretus demonstrate they have come a long way from the days of the Self-Titled EP being far more musically confident and accomplished, making this an album well worth investigating.



Bretus from Catanzaro, Calabria stand for 21 years of doom, occult mysticism, and Lovecraft-like horror. Those ingredients make a perfectly cursed recipe - let us embrace the Horror Doom! Less than two years after the release of their album "Aion Tetra" and the re-issue of their selftitled debut, Bretus  are back with another thrilling soundtrack for the apocalypse. "Magharia",the name probably refers to a medieval Judaeo-Christian sect, also called the people of the caves who regarded Jesus of Nazareth as an angel whose existence was foreseen from the beginning of everything.

Once again, Bretus come up to the name of their genre. The sound of "Magharia" combines elements of traditional Doom Metal with spooky soundscapes and therefore create a deeply scary and eschatologic sonic narrative. Occultism, witchcraft, and the inevitable coming of death fit the soudscape perfectly an thus make "Magharia" a wholesome release that will enchant fans of Saint Vitus, The Vision Bleak, and Blitzkid likewise. Light up, the candles, open a bottle of blood-red wine, and turn up the volume for this cinematic horror sound. 



"Wild spires of stone shoot up into the air, barren and clearly defined, in the form (as its name implies) of a gigantic hand against the sky, and in the crevices and holes of this fearfully savage pyramid the houses of Pentedatilo are wedged, while darkness and terror brood over all the abyss around this, the strangest of human abodes.” Edward Lear, Journals of a Landscape Painter in Southern Calabria

A great bloody hand cradles this arcane place of unconscionable horror in its palm, five time-worn and seemingly zombified digits erected like spent fangs in a jaw, cracked open and up towards the sky. A famously cursed paese fantasma since the 17th century but settled by intrepid seventh century Greeks upon a precarious vantage point, Pentadattilo would long bear the burden of being settled too close to these ancient spears poking up from Hell. Infamously painted red via a somewhat imbalanced feud between wealthy yet indignant families, the Easter massacre of 1686 within this precarious town spared no children or elderly for the sake of one man’s murderous passion for a women he’d never have — The entire opposing family where shot with primitive rifles and hey, stabbed a few extra times to ensure there were no survivors. A horror so disturbing for the population it was said their blood-smeared handprints would be left to hang on the walls for centuries. Now wracked by the Earth’s shift and largely abandoned beyond tourist herding, the fate of this ancient roost rests as ruins, an auld obsession for centuries of warriors and travelers alike with little more than shifting tectonic places left to feed its cursed reputation. Italian traditional doom metal quartet Bretus probably have more harrowing lore in mind whilst pulling from the witching brew of haunted and historic ghostly legends from their country on this brilliant fifth full-length, ‘Magharia‘, but we are in the right lane. Now entirely in their element and having reached considerable stride via expanded heavy psychedelic rock influences, these Calabrian folks mystify all grey matter with fresh expressive mastery within, flexing a diabolically twisted and personality-rich showing of foundationally secure doom metal tradition.

Bretus have done heavy metal right in the most basic sense: They put in the work for nearly a full decade before their first official statement went to print. From there they have tweaked their sound, adjusted the line-up, and iterated upon a strong core concept but the dark soul of the band persists in its most classic fascination with 70’s heavy psychedelic rock, 80’s traditional doom metal, and the “tell don’t show” brand of classic horror where the impact comes from the mental horror of the haunt and the trauma of violence unseen. Back in 2019 I’d more or less described my take on their first three albums within a review of their fourth record ‘Aion Tetra‘ and those notes still hold up, the “breakthrough” was arguably ‘‘ (2017) and they’ve been on a roll since. The appeal of their style can be reduced if only for the sake of the traditional doom metal spirit that drives both the rhythm and riffing across all albums and one of my favorite doom vocalists Zagarus, formerly of Suum and also in Lunar Swamp, a recent stoner/doom side project from Bretus members. Any fellow who can invoke Scott Reagers and Bobby Liebling in tone and spirit but put his own expressive touch into phrasing is immediately in tune with my own ears as records like ‘Die Healing’ and ‘Day of Reckoning’ are visible under microscope within my blood. This isn’t all there is to the bands sound but it is a fantastic starting point as each album Bretus serves us is more deeply considered in both theme and construction, finding the heaviness of those mid-80’s doom metal classics but oozing of the warp upon the 70’s rock spiritus which visionary groups like Cathedral honed in on in the mid-90’s. Traditional doom metal can have a great vocalist and can feature incredible riffs in 2021, there are few options today where bands are capturing the old gods’ essence rather than simply canning it for sale, Bretus drip of that essence in perpetual font.

From the horrendous death toll of the plague-ridden and asylum-bound reaches of Poveglia Island (“Cursed Island”) to mysteriously prolific and ritualistic Bronze age Sardinian culture that’d seemingly vanished (“Nuraghe”) the greater thematic scope of ‘Magharia’ spins fantastic tales from urban legend and real historic haunts across Italy, places of profound tragedy and horrors seemingly all by the hand of human treachery. Rather than plainly stating the source of each song they’ve inserted keywords, allusions, and various shifts in perspective to convey detailed histories and legends while leaving the heavy lifting to the listener who is prone to figure through each subject. The intent is clearly more about adding a bit of a ghost story atmosphere to an album already crawling with its own dark aura than it is to provide scholarly review so, you’re still primarily showing up for a heavy psychedelic rock record heavily in tune with mid-80’s doom metal; The mind-bending nearly nine minute title track that ends the full listen makes sure you’ve gotten the major stylistic point but “Cursed Island” and “The Bridge of Damnation” had already given considerable hints along the way.

For my own taste the strength between halves is consistent across ‘Magharia’, Side A might initially seem more “classic doom metal” in movement yet the whole of the album more-or-less is save a few touches of the blues rock a la early Danzig and some additional melodic voicing, such as the flute break in opener “Celebration of Gloom”. “Nuraghe” has a kick of ‘VIIIth Coming’-era Cathedral in its movement, a certain rhythmic swing to it while still preserving the dank, mold-ridden feel of Bretus, “Headless Ghost” heaps on even more of this idiosyncratic stoner/doom feeling in its guitar work serving as an energizing highlight as we pass on to Side B. My favorite piece on the album is oddly enough “Sinful Nun” a song that does a fine job illustrating concisely a lot of the newer influences rising within their sound while keeping the rhythm guitars cranking out memorable circular movements. As a full listen ‘Magharia’ felt entirely organic and comfortably professional from the very first listen and only warmed as its rotten glow became more familiar. As an already familiar Bretus fan who’d found ‘Aion Tetra’ to be their finest work when stumbling upon it back in 2019, I see the bigger picture of what is different and what is steadfast within this new record and appreciate that they’ve gone darker and smarter with this one rather than trying simply for “more everything” as doom metal bands are often prone. Memorable, infinitely repeatable, and surely an essential for folks attuned to traditional doom metal this year. A high recommendation.




Italian horror doomers Bretus return with their new album, "Magharia" set to be released on May 7th. The new album is their 5th overall of their impressive 21 year run as a band and it really shows on this release. The musicianship is precise and the songwriting is just as tight. The vocals, sounding like the would-be forlorn spirit of Glenn Danzig soar over wicked thick fuzzy metallic riffs with atmospheric keys showing up from time to time just enough to remind you that this is a horror show. It's all as solid as a steel coffin and as massive as Dracula's castle. I especially dig the closing title track instrumental that showcases the talents of every band member with each getting a solo. Highly recommended! Check out the video for "Cursed Island" now on Youtube and get the album May 7th on CD at The Swamp Records, vinyl at Overdrive Records and on tape at Burning Coffin Recs. Check it out! - The Riff Finder General



 Quindi Oakland: avete letto da Luca dei Necrot cosa sta succedendo là, when it comes to nicchia e produzioni sotterranee. Cassetta a cura della Burning Coffin. Quindi Cile: la cosa si fa ancora più interessante. Vinile a cura dell’angolo più retto dei tre, parlo della nostrana Overdrive, un nome quasi “grosso”. Vi prego: soffermatevi nei siti della Swamp e della Burning Coffin! E’ un brulicare di grafiche pazzesche, un trionfo di attitudine e di disegni sgangherati, ma fottutamente veri (avete presente le prime grafiche dei Suicidal, piuttosto che i ‘Tales From The Crypt’?). All’interno di questo ben di Dio, la copertina di ‘Magharia’, a cura di Damiana Merante, è un ulteriore piacere: un gruppo di incappucciati e mascherati intorno ad un fuoco, una riunione di “Ghostface” che parlano delle proprie malefatte. I Bretus sono ormai un bel nome del doom nostrano nel mondo. Per chi non li conoscesse, utilizzo il termometro “punk vs metal”, con estremi St. Vitus da una parte e Trouble dall’altra. I Bretus, a mio umile parere, sono ampiamente in zona Trouble, senza (per fortuna) raggiungerne la tamarraggine: per chi come il sottoscritto non sopporta la voce di Eric Wagner, questa è un’ottima notizia. Zagarus non raggiunge le stesse pericolose frequenze, ma Zagurus canta molto “recitato”. Il mio MVP va a ‘Moonchild’s Scream’, il pezzo che parte e si sviluppa più dritto, più “cartella in faccia”. Menzione d’onore alla title track, il gran finale, che vedrei bene come colonna sonora di un corto horror. Qui i ragazzi aggiungono una terza dimensione alla materia doom, qui i ragazzi entrano a gamba tesa in territori prog. Da non sottovalutare, sottolineo una volta in più il “concept” dietro a ‘Magharia’, l’altro pezzo “cinematico” del lotto, secondo me solo all’apparenza trascurabile. Parlo di ‘Necropass’, un brano (direi) fatto di field recordings dell’acqua in una caverna: alzata per bene l’asticella della tensione e dell’evocazione, break dopo ‘Moonchild’s Scream’, e ripartenza con un titolo/un programma (vedi anche la foto di corredo): ‘Nuraghe’. Bello bello.  


La banda italiana Bretus se formó en Calabria en el año 2000. Muy influenciados por las obras de HP Lovecraft y las películas clásicas de terror y el misticismo de los 70, amantes de la oscuridad y el misticismo, aportan a su música bastas influencias de Black Sabbath para engendrar un Doom rockerizado, ambientado esta vez por historias de miedo de la cultura italiana. Historias de fantasmas que se prestan a su dualidad entre mitos y leyendas, a formar parte del universo sonoro característico de la banda. Este es ya su quinto disco, sin contar EP's y lanzamientos compartidos.

El álbum lo abre la gruesa y movida "Celebration of Gloom", con aplastantes riffs y voces susurrantes en algunos momentos que insuflan ese aire tétrico. Su vocalista Zagarus, pese a tener su propio timbre personal, evoca en mi mente a un híbrido genético de Jim Morrison y Danzig. Sé que ellos se definen como una banda de Doom, aunque habría que precisar que poco tienen que ver con el Doom depresivo o funerario. Lejos se me antojan la repetición de esquemas, los ritmos lentos y opresivos y las voces hipnotizantes imperantes en el género. Otra muestra más la encontramos en "Cursed Island", un tema bastante heavy, patente sobretodo en el cambio de ritmo del último cuarto final. El inicio de "Moonschild's scream" quizá sí sea de lo más Doom del plástico, aunque algunos cambios de ritmo, vuelven a alejarlos del género dentro de mi cabeza. A continuación tenemos un atmosférico y escalofriante interludio instrumental, de nombre "Necropass", que sirve para cruzar el umbral de algún portal fantasmagórico que nos transporta a "Nuraghe". Guitarras densas por parte de Ghenes, machaconas y un ritmo bien marcado por la batería de Striges, todo envuelto en un halo tenebroso y amenazador.

Pasamos el ecuador del disco y llega "Headless ghost", un tema intenso y cargado de malvado Heavy Metal. La atmosférica "The bridge of damnation" si que baja las revoluciones, quedándoles un tema bastante épico al que le van dando toques de intensidad creciente. "Sinful nun" es una canción bastante aplastante, la más extrema del disco diria, ya que invita ciegamente a agitar la cabeza con un riff muy marcado y una potencia no oída hasta ahora, una de las más destacadas del conjunto. El broche lo pone el tema título, casi 9 minutos instrumentales con unas bonitas acústicas al inicio que se van distorsionando, y a las que se les acoplan unos teclados muy Purple y unos sintetizadores. Hay pasajes muy bellos en este tema, y momentos de viaje astral, como un solo de batería que hará volar a vuestras neuronas. Otro gol que me marcan por la escuadra.

No conocía sus anteriores lanzamientos, y me ha sorprendido encontrar estos temas de calidad, de bella factura y de inspiración oscura y terrorífica. Un disco sobrio para los amantes de la vertiente más clásica del género. Para fans de Black Sabbath, Cathedral o Pentragram. 


Le confinement fut une période de résilience, l’occasion de se remettre en question... Et tout le baratin niais de mes roubignolles. Non, l’année qui vient de s’écouler fut un cauchemar qui ne semble d’ailleurs pas tout à fait terminé. Ce fut aussi pour beaucoup d’entre nous de la souffrance, avec les vidéos à la maison de Patrick Bruel, Raphael, et autres vedettes chansonnantes coincées dans leurs trois-cent mètre-carré à Paris ou en Province. Du côté de la heavy music, les vieux sages du doom-metal (Saint-Vitus, The Obsessed, Pentagram) semblent en sommeil discographique. C’est peut-être une bonne chose, car la nouvelle génération va pouvoir enfin s’asseoir sur le trône. Bretus est un groupe italien dont les origines discographiques remontent à 2009. Depuis, le quatuor de doom n’a fait que produire de véritables chefs-d’œuvre. Leur musique est indéniablement inspirée de Pentagram et Black Sabbath. Mais elle a aussi ingéré le doom-rock typique du pays : Death SS et Paul Chain. Leur doom-metal a un côté très théâtral issu de cette scène, mais aussi de ses références littéraires et cinématographiques : HP Lovecraft, le cinéma fantastique italien, la Hammer, la sorcellerie… Moins branchouille en terme de visuel par rapport à Electric Wizard, Bretus offre un doom-metal d’une efficacité et d’une férocité rare, on peut même dire unique. Ils sont désormais artistiquement installés au niveau des grands maîtres du genre, et ce nouvel album ne vient que confirmer ce statut. Magharia est un concept-album basé sur des légendes anciennes italiennes de fantômes, chaque chanson contant une de ces histoires. Musicalement, les morceaux sont plutôt ramassés pour être efficaces, entre quatre et cinq minutes, excepté pour l’odyssée finale : ‘Magharia’. La formation est désormais solide, et l’on retrouve les ingrédients qui rendent la musique de Bretus fascinante. Il y a d’abord les architectures de riffs démoniaques de Ghenes. Il y a ensuite l’incroyable voix de Zagarus, puissante, charismatique, subtile, sans jamais en faire trop. Il y a enfin l’implacable rythmique imprimé derrière par le bassiste Janos et le batteur Striges. Les quatre se cachent derrière des pseudonymes, et ne montrent jamais leurs visages, comme pour faire de Bretus une bête guidée par quatre êtres secrets. Une fois encore, derrière la superbe pochette, on trouve une avalanche de monstres heavy-métalliques hantés aux teintes subtilement patinées. Le côté artisanal de ses albums donne une texture et une âme uniques à la musique de Bretus, depuis ses débuts. Il est difficile de cerner un titre plus qu’un autre, car ils sont tous fascinants, et chaque écoute révèle la qualité de l’un ou de l’autre, comme ce fut aussi le cas pour les disques précédents. ‘Celebration Of Gloom’ et le féroce ‘Cursed Island’ tapent d’entrée très fort, et ne font qu’annoncer un voyage au plus profond de la légende noire italienne. ‘Nuraghe’ et ‘Headless Ghost’ semblent confirmer un climat extrêmement orageux qui plane sur ce disque, une rage bouillonnante au-delà des histoires contées. ‘The Bridge Of Damnation’ semble sonner comme la bande-son de nos douze derniers mois, que l’on soit italien ou français. ‘Magharia’ nécessite quelques lignes, car ce morceau est assurément conçu comme la bande-son d’un court-métrage fantastique. Sur ce morceau instrumental, se croisent mellotron, synthétiseurs antiques et arpèges de guitares électriques et acoustiques. ‘Magharia’ sonne comme un voyage expérimental après huit pépites de doom-metal à la pureté inégalable. On flirte avec Death SS, Le Orme, et même … Soft Machine ! Magharia est un album ambitieux et riche qui procure sa petite dose de plaisir supplémentaire à chaque écoute. C’est à mon sens déjà un classique.


BRETUS is an Italian Stoner Doom band who formed in 2000. Their new album "Magharia" is their fifth full length album. They also released a demo, EP and a split. This album is a guitar lovers wet dream. Guitarist Ghenes is a beast on the strings—this album is a nonstop riff fest! The tone is awesome too with the right balance between thickness and crunching gallops. According to the band “Magharia” is ‘based on some of the frightening Italian ghost tales."

Vocalist Zagarus goes a long way in providing the spooky atmosphere to back up the subject matter—his clean vocals are loud and wide, coming off like he is singing from above everything…very occult like. Drummer Striges and bassist Janos are a fantastic rhythm foundation that hit just as hard as the guitars—both musicians are as indispensable as the other members."A Celebration Of Gloom" opens the album on a strong note with huge riffs and drums. When the vocals arrive, the band settles in for a nearly five minute doom romp that just doesn’t quit. A great opening track that will tell you how the rest of the album will play out. About three fourths of the way through the song appears what sounds like either violin or keys giving the song a creepy and psychedelic feel.

"Moonchild's Scream" is prepared to blow out speakers with the bass and guitar just going out for blood—excellent and frightening loud riffs. This song has a strong stoner vibe and is rather hazy—wouldn’t have it any other way. The vocals are immense and expressive too, preaching horror and wicked things. "NURAGHE" has a dirty, sludge vibe to it and it works so well for the band's sound. The dangerous edge. Considering a nuraghe is an ancient pile of stones, it makes sense this song would sound more archaic than some of the others. The riffs and bass rock and roll very strongly here for a whirlwind of headbanging doom.

"The Bridge Of Damnation" is one of the album's best songs….the riffs ride the line between blues and Sabbath and are just MASSIVELY played. The clean vocals are more gothic tinged in places and come off similar to Danzig except not boring and washed up.  The bass and guitar right after the trippy solo are badass and the song just rolls around hardcore until the end, which highlighted by a killer attack display from the drums. The title track ends the album in the form of an epic instrumental.  While it is a good song it does feel somewhat out of place as it quite a bit more proggy than what came before it. Perhaps the next album will be stoner prog doom? I'd be down for that. At any rate, this is a rifftastic and well written piece of hard hitting horror themed stoner doom.



Today you will learn about Magharia, the latest work by Italian doom rock band Bretus, released on May 7 2021. The album description says Magharia is “a concept album based on some of the frightening Italian ghost tales”. That is great, I like it when an album has a concept! And I like the Italian underground (you should check out Wojtek or Die Sünde for example, if you haven’t already). Plus, the band is inspired by 70’s music, which I am very fond of.
Listening to the material, I was not disappointed. The songs provide a nice headbanger experience with tasty riffs and an old school rock and roll feel, which are very good for your mental health. And the horror theme goes well with this kind of music. Compared to earlier releases of the band, Magharia has better (by which I mean mature and organic) song structures and more doomy tunes, it is definitely a step forward.

As usual, I’m trying to pick a favorite song. Actually, I have multiple favorites this time. The best mood award goes to The Bridge of Damnation. The winner of best rhythm award is Nuraghe. Composition-wise, the best one is definitely the title song with its eclectic progressive nature and creative approach of arrangement.

Zooming out, if you are looking for great underground music, Italy has a lot to offer, Bretus is another good example. Oh, and one more thing. Long live the music of the 70’s, and those who keep the old vibes alive!



La aparición de aquella enfermedad virulenta que ha tenido la capacidad de alcanzar la categoría de pandemia, ha ofrecido la oportunidad a la memoria para rescatar de sus rincones algunas imágenes y referentes sobre otras epidemias y horrores que han azotado al planeta. Las historias que han sido contadas desde los tiempos remotos, ofrecen relatos tétricos donde la imaginación hace mutar a la realidad hasta dotarle de una esencia mística y hasta que hace nacer del miedo y el temor a personajes y entidades de las cuales será imposible huir...

Luego de aquel momento de definición que significó Aion Tetra de 2019, la banda de doom clásico Bretus ha creado un álbum bajo los preceptos definidos de su estilo sonoro con la finalidad de ofrecer un audiorama a una selección de cuentos fantásticos y fantasmagóricos de su Italia natal. Si bien el cuarteto del ventoso puerto de Catanzaro se ha distinguido por crear una colección de odas inspiradas en las películas de horror y suspenso que forman parte del conocido cine giallo de gente como Mario Bava, Dario Argento o Lucio Fulci, pera esta ocasión el grupo se ha concentrado entre los mitos y las leyendas para lograr crear un disco ahogado en zozobra que a pesar de la pesadumbre no pierde su fuerza e intensidad a cada acorde realizado.

Tras dos misteriosa notas sumergidas en la congoja total, el ambiente se transforma a partir del ruido eléctrico que hace explotar las bocinas en un primitivo doom de ritmo constante, que como si se tratara de una tormenta eléctrica a la mitad de la noche, ilumina de manera breve y fugaz a la pesada penumbra que se posa sobre nosotros. A través de la inaugural y poderosa "Celebration of gloom", nos encontramos ante Magharia, el quinto álbum de Bretus que ha sido publicado en mayo de 2021 por medio de las disqueras The Swamp Records (CD), Overdrive Records (Vinil) y Burning Coffin Records (cassette).  Una vez escuchada esta afilada sentencia de melodía sostenida, la mordida suelta su veneno adictivo para evitar cualquier retorno posible de sus neblinas envolventes de sonido y terror.

Es innegable la influencia del cuarteto italiano con la vieja escuela del doom tradicional de bandas como Candlemass, Saint Vitus o Witchfinder General, pero poco a poco Bretus ha ido construido un estilo propio por medio de certeras melodías que utilizan como base ritmos aletargados creados a partir de colosales acordes y primitivas percusiones. Y para que no que quede alguna duda al respecto, Magharia nos ofrece en "Moonchild's scream" una muestra de su poder bajo su atmósfera sombría que los distingue mientras todo fluye hasta dejarnos abandonados y sumidos en la más densa obscuridad de los tan temidos bosques europeos a la mitad de la noche.
Dentro del tufo sombrío y fantasmal que satura el Magharia, el álbum ofrece algunos instantes llenos luminosidad que, de manera irónica, le ofrece más poder y magia a su esencia tenebrosa. La intensidad de "Headless ghost" creada a partir de fuertes cambios melódicos, las armonías afiladas de "Sinful nun" o los sonidos distorsionados hasta el feedback de "The bridge of damnation" que contrastan a la perfección con su abismal tonada, son una muestra de la dicotomía perfecta que onstruye a su alrededor una niebla de intriga ante lo desconocido y los seres que lo habitan.

No podía faltar un un puente sonoro de remanso para generar suspenso y tensión, y ésto lo podemos escuchar en la breve "Necropass", quizá un minuto que ofrece la oportunidad para recuperar el aliento para seguir hacia este muestrario de fantasmas y almas en pena. Sin embargo, lo mejor se encuentra en el cierre de Magharia por medio del track que lo bautiza, pues luego de una introducción bajo los preceptos de "Necropass", escuchamos una melodía insistente que está escondida entre teclados y sintetizadores hechos por Ghenes al abandonar la guitarra y que no se habían mostrado en el resto anterior del álbum. El tema se transforma misteriosamente en una sucesión de acordes que denotan temor ante los secretos ocultos en la obscuridad, aunque va pasando el tiempo y todo se torna aun más extraño debido a los efectos sonoros sobre las percusiones de Striges. Ocultas se encuentran las cuatro hirientes cuerdas graves de Janos, las cuales no pierden la oportunidad de ofrecer un soporte al tema, aunque los constantes cambios melódicos se transforman en un verdadero reto, terminado todo en un largo pasaje instrumental que reta al amante del doom clásico para que rompa sus cadenas y se abra a nuevas posibilidades sonoras.

Las guitarras toman el control y sólo nos queda la opción de recibir su vómito a través de las bocinas desgarradas. Riffs hirientes y concretos que saben clavarse en la mente para no abandonarla a pesar de su intensidad. Unos ligeros teclados dotan de mayor obscuridad hasta que finalmente que caemos rendidos y de rodillas ante una melodía venenosa sin mayores posibilidades de transformación. "Cursed island" tiene todos los elementos para convertirse en la primera mordida al Magharia gracias a su vigor constante donde fluyen entes misteriosos y seres fantasmales que alteran los sentidos hasta el grado de provocar su pérdida. La poderosa voz de Zagarus cruza el plano sonoro con su desgarradoras notas vocales mientras nos narra una historia tenebrosas de una isla maldita perdida a la mitad de la nada mientras todo se torna espantoso. Doom sin contemplaciones ni experimentaciones, sonidos abismales y desgarradores que son directos dardos a las neuronas.

Bretus ha creado otra obra de arte dentro de los sonidos obscuros ahogados en vehemencia, pero es necesario permitir el fluir de cada uno de sus temas para que poco a poco nos vayan creando una perfecta atmósfera de zozobra y nos coloque en la antesala de la ultratumba. Magharia repta por los suelos hasta que de manera inesperada te atrapa en un marasmo de sonidos y texturas ásperas del que será imposible escapar, aunque se requerirá tener la paciencia y los oídos finos para poder descifrar los secretos que resguarda en su interior. Permitamos que la música hable por sí sola mientras los portales del más se abren ante nosotros para dejar que deambulen por este plano de la realidad aquellas melancólicas entidades llenas de rabia, dolor y venganza...


Doom metal clássico, a prestar a devida vassalagem aos mestres Sabbathe e Pentagram mas também a Saint Vitus e The Obsessed. Já podemos considerar os Bretus como veteranos, afinal já têm mais de duas décadas de carreira, embora apenas na última década é que tenham estado mais activos editorialmente. Este é já o quinto álbum e o que trazem é memso isso, heavy doom clássico, algo cru mas com muito feeling. É um género que vai encontrar sempre os seus fãs bastando para isso ser apenas tratado com paixão. Que é o que acontece aqui. Para quem tem essa mesma paixão pelo estilo, de certeza que vai recebe-lo de forma igualmente apaixonada.

venerdì 16 aprile 2021


 Cursed Island official video out now!

MAGHARIA Preorder available via bandcamp!
CD version (The Swamp Records), Vinyl (Overdrive Records), Tape (Burning Coffin Recs)
Recorded and mixed at Black Horse Music studio.
Artwork by DamianaMerante Art
Illustrations and graphics by Vivi Brown

martedì 6 aprile 2021

lunedì 16 novembre 2020


The USA label The Swamp Records reissues the debut Ep from 2010, "Bretus".
The opus is regarded as "an absolute classic of Horror Doom. Milestone" (Mango Rave Reviews blog)




Bretus' selftitled Mini CD was originally released in 2010. In 2014 actually, the first re-issue was produced. Now in 2020, we celebrate the tenteh anniversary of the Horror Doom debut from Italy. And it is another premiere, too. The re-release of "Bretus" is the first re-issue ever done by the label The Swamp Records.

On five tracks Bretus play heavy Doom Metal driven by a sludgy psychedelic atmosphere. The second element defining the sound on this Mini CD is horror. You can hear in the opening track 'Sitting on the Grave' (video above). Bretus work with the tradition of bands like Samhain, The Other or Rezurex. Horror stories are the motor for both, the lyrics and the musical style.

Doom Metal-wise, Bretus are rather traditional. Their sound will please fans of artists like Lord of the Grave or Thou. The music is very dark, intensely heavy, and it creates beautiful but nightmarish moods. The final track 'The Only Truth' especially, goes back to Sabbath-like Doom.
This Mini CD is an absolute classic of Horror Doom and it is a rather underrated release if you ask me. Good thing, The Swamp is now giving Horror fans and lovers of traditional Doom Metal the chance to purchase this milestone. 



A Itália sempre foi um país deveras fascinante para mim em vários aspectos. Dentro da nossa seara de interesses neste site, que é o Heavy Metal, parece claro para todos que existe algo de especial no Metal produzido lá na Bota! Um charme, aquele “algo” diferenciado que faz você perceber que tal banda é italiana mesmo sem que você saiba disso antes. Tal característica aparece em bandas dos mais diversos estilos, desde aqueles mais acessíveis e melódicos até os mais extremos.

O Doom Metal italiano, em particular, é um dos mais belos e destacados do mundo. A belíssima cidade de Catanzaro, localizada no sudeste italiano, tem sido uma das principais exportadoras de Doom italiano e um dos responsáveis por tão ótima safra tem sido o Bretus. Fundada no ano 2000, esta banda já possui vários trabalhos em sua discografia, dentre os quais quatro álbuns de estúdio. Tais registros exibem uma banda que se utiliza de elementos típicos do Doom, do Stoner (mais notadamente deste) e do Sludge para criar um som lamacento, pesado e agressivo. O som moldado pelo Bretus é uma perfeita e macabra trilha-sonora para o que eles vociferam em suas letras, cujos assuntos sempre giram em torno dos contos de horror, mais proeminentemente os de H.P. Lovecraft.

Todavia, antes de o Bretus lançar a maior parte de sua discografia, o quarteto disponibilizou em 2009 a sua estreia oficial, um EP autointitulado com cinco faixas. Na época, o Bretus era formado por Zagarus (vocais), Neurot (guitarras), Ghenes (contrabaixo) e Sest (bateria), dos quais permanecem até hoje na banda o vocalista e o baixista. Recentemente a gravadora norte-americana The Swamp Records relançou este EP, portanto, não existe momento melhor para nós revisitarmos a estreia do Bretus do que agora.

Bretus, o EP, foi lançado originalmente em 12 de dezembro de 2010 pela gravadora MadDie Records e seu conteúdo mostrava uma banda já bastante coesa e com muita certeza do som que queriam praticar. A abertura com Sitting On The Grave prova isso; esta composição mais parece um monstro lamacento e macabro que emerge de um rio pronto para acabar com sua existência. Um odor “pentagrâmico” é sentido com mais força em From The South; a gente tem quase certeza que Bobby Liebling chegará a qualquer momento para dividir o microfone com Zagarus, vocalista esse que, por sinal, se mostra bastante versátil quando resolve variar suas abordagens desde berros esganiçados até uma proposta mais melódica e descompromissada.

 Dark Cloaks Arrive é uma belíssima e sorumbática peça acústica movida a percussões que serve para dar aquela acalmada sob a luz das estrelas entre as duas metades pesadas do EP. Passado o sonho, a realidade macabra retorna com tudo na dinâmica In Onirica, cujo destaque é a poderosa parede de guitarras que divide em duas o riff empoeirado de setentismo. O EP se encerra com a groovada e contagiante The Only Truth, um final alucinante de sete minutos no qual a banda faz questão de não deixar pedra sobre pedra com um peso absurdo e uma pegada tremenda.

Foi com este bom ponto de partida que o Bretus enfim começou a construir seu nome e seu legado como uma das principais representantes do Doom italiano. Foi a partir daí que o conjunto começou a mostrar para o mundo a sua exímia habilidade de aliar aquele Doom setentista que Black Sabbath e Pentagram ensinaram com muito peso e groove, balanceando bem de modo a criar uma sonoridade com muita identidade e capaz de agradar fãs dos mais diversos estilos. Além disso, a atmosfera macabra que o Bretus é capaz de moldar é criada toda de forma orgânica, sem teclados e nem nada disso, com muito peso nas afinações baixas das cordas, timbres cortantes, baixo e bateria seguros e vocais estarrecedores. E que bom que a The Swamp Records se dispôs a realizar este relançamento, assim, mais pessoas poderão ter em casa um souvenir desta peça obrigatória da história do Doom italiano.


Bretus are an Italian outfit from Catanzaro formed in 2000 by bassist/guitarist Ghenes. At the time of this EP the band also consisted of frontman Zagarus, Neurot – guitar (since departed) and drummer Sest (replaced by Stiges in 2012), present bassist Janos only joined last year and doesn’t feature. This EP from 2010 was the band’s first release and has been given the reissue treatment by the good folks over at The Swamp Records. Ghenes, Zagarus and Stiges would go onto form shamanic doom blues outfit Lunar Swamp whose excellent UnderMudBlues EP was reviewed by my Shaman colleague Rob Bryant earlier in the year.

Bretus ‘Bretus’ EP
The band cite their inspirations as old horror movies, H.P. Lovecraft, mysticism and 70s music which is certainly reflected in the EPs artwork, mysterious hooded figures dominating everywhere. First track Sitting On The Grave features a disturbing sample of a woman’s ear-piercing scream followed by a sort of incantation, I’m hazarding a guess as it is in Italian, but seeing as Bretus enjoy horror films, it would be a reasonably safe bet. The track then launches with a riff that reminds me of John Christ and is soon accompanied by Zagarus’ now trademark Danzig influenced vocals. I have to admit that having grown accustomed to the smooth blusier style of Lunar Swamp, the harsher vocal delivery (that one would usually find with sludge metal) took me a little by surprise. One of my main issues with sludge tends to be how monotonous the vocals (and music) sound, but here it works because it is alternated nicely with the more melodic sections.

From the South is a real headbanger, the music is gloriously over the top and there is a Manowar triumphant battle cry feel to it. Vocally there are shades of Phil Anselmo from around the time of Far Beyond Driven and The Great Southern Trendkill. This is the kind of track that I could easily see audiences punching their fists in the air to. Dark Cloaks Arrive is a pretty instrumental that allows for a quick breather and reminds me of the mellow folk pieces Embryo and Orchid from Black Sabbath’s Master Of Reality. I could imagine this being played as the prelude to some kind of gruesome druid sacrifice ala The Wickerman.

[In Onirica] is so steeped in the 70s that it should come with its own set of bellbottoms…

In Onirica has such a killer groove that it virtually swings, and if you took away the vocals, I hear Sonic Flower with the heavy 70s rock influences (Bang, Jersualem, Cactus and their like). This track is so steeped in the 70s that it should come with its own set of bellbottoms. The Only Truth at nearly seven minutes is the longest track on the EP and is packed full of chunky riffing, reminding me a bit of The Cult, especially vocally. If that band shifted into doom metal then they wouldn’t be a million miles away from this. A truly exuberant conclusion.

Comparisons may be drawn to Lunar Swamp and that’s a little inevitable seeing as how both bands share members. There are some amazing tunes on here, featuring some killer hooks and kickass grooves. If I were to state a preference than Lunar Swamp wins out, there is something uniquely beguiling about their approach that I don’t find here. As stated on my Lightmaker review, the doom/stoner scene is currently saturated with bands and you have to have a certain X Factor to really stand out. However, if you aren’t as fussy as me and want some downright solid Horror themed classic doom metal then this should doubtlessly be your first port of call.