As the band's name suggests, Book of Black Earth would rather read the Necronomicon than the Bible. But for the new disc Horoskopus, the group's members spent significant time perusing religious reference materials, if only to build a persuasive concept-album case for Christianity being a fraudulent appropriation of pagan astrological beliefs. Anti-religion stances are prevalent in the extreme-music scene, but few groups study enough to give their heresy intellectual weight. Book of Black Earth's diverse sound, which branches into slow-churning doom, fuzzily symphonic black metal and crusty thrash, also seems like the result of comprehensive research, as though these alchemists poured luminous vials of each unstable element into a bubbling cauldron. TJ Cowgill stretches words like they're on a torture rack, dragging the single syllable "die" across vast, foreboding musical terrain. The rhythm section plants a low-end anchor, which carves a gash in the mire when the grinding guitars propel the ship into motion. The other acts on this bill surpass Book of Black Earth's speed, but none of them are as capable of setting a densely ominous mood, or educating the moshing throng on the folly of sun-god worship. All ages.
Sat., Dec. 6, 7 p.m., 2008