Brocas Helm – “Black Death” (1988)

Brocas HelmThis is as underground as it gets!  The very strange Brocas Helm album comes to us by way of San Francisco.  Black Death was a low-budget demo that ended up getting a proper release in 1988 (Gargoyle Records).  Black Death opens with the title track — an ode to the bubonic plague.  This is by far the best song on the album.  Here we are introduced to Brocas Helm’s unique style — a not-too-serious take on medieval sounding metal with an almost psychedelic weirdness.  After track one, Black Death devolves fairly quickly — hampered by various obtrusive sound effects and a garbage mix that often makes the vocals inaudible (witness Satan’s Prophets).  This album sounds like it was recorded in rush hour traffic.  With some of the lyrics and the singer’s faux English accent, you get the feeling that Brocas Helm were partially joking with this Black Death collection.  It’s definitely a head trip.  Whether you find it to be a good trip or a bad trip may very well depend on the drugs you’re taking.  My score: C

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