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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Shazzula Nebula/Various Artists - Black Mass Rising(DVD) [Black Mass Rising Films - 2011]

“Black Mass Rising” is a two hour experimental movie that mixers together psychedelic & occult themed visuals, with mixed genre experimental & atmospheric music.

The projects  the brainchild of Belgium based female photographer & filmmaker Shazzula Nebula. The  film is made up of images & footage that she filmed over a year period on just her mobile phone on location in  Berlin, Paris, Brussells & Duna Jam Lands-  the images are edited together into a dark, tripped–out, and ritual laced  visual trip. Adding the sonic dimension to  Nebula’s heady & dark  visuals is a selection of twenty two exclusive tracks from selection the dark & psychedelic acts who fall in several different experimental genres- the full list of sonic artists taking part here are: Master Musicians of Bukkake, Kawabata Makoto, Bobby Beausoleil, Horror Illogium, Yoga, Sylvester Anfang II, Sayona, Kinit Her, Rose Croix, Mourning Ring, Ga’an, Shazzula, The Entrance Band, In Zaire, Cultus Sabbati, Mater Suspiria Vision, L’Acéphale, SUM OF R, Aluk Todolo, Burial Hex, Menace Ruine and Demonologists.

The film is offered up here in the form of a pro made DVDR in a thin slip case in an edition of just 666 copies.  The film on the dvd is split up into two parts :The Rising(all filmed in colour) & The Black Mass (all filmed in black & White).


Visually the first part darts, melts & drifts from images of monolithic  & ancient structures, and landscapes. Onto laver flows, moon & sun risings, swirling maps of stars. Through  to  kaleidoscope & psychedelic images of a  female figure dressed in ethic gypsy get-up. Onto footage of ancient stone archways & structures. Through to tripped-out collages of faces, bodies and ritual emblems. Into hazed Ouija board footage, onto solitary dark rituals taking places in underground crypts. More kaleidoscope & psychedelic mixture  lights & shapes. Through to weird rituals taking place in hazy sunlit  woodlands glades that feature hooded male figures and a central female witch, and beyond 

Sonic  wise part one moves from: twisting & swirling guitar & organ jammed out psychedelic, through to primal male vocalising over spacey doom rock drones, into drifts of psychedelic analogue synth scaping, through shimmering yet drowsy occult rock & horror synth lined work-outs, through to string lifted dramatic yet dark post rock, and beyond.

Onto the second part which is filmed purely in black & white & visually it drifts from: Cemetery gateways & archways covered in cobwebs. Gravestones & over dramatically leering & staring male & female figures in abounded buildings. Cloaked & gloved figures holding their arms up to dramatic cloud filled skies, and also carrying around a skull that trips off grim kaleidoscope of said skull. Mashed up collages of over dark landscapes. Creepy slow moving figures with long haired heads down. Stone terrain, more graveyard & crypt footage. Slowed ritual like movements by two females in front of a crypt doorway. Onto more undefined swirled & kaleidoscopic mass of images.

Sonically the music in the second part is more dark & often noisy & this takes in: Sampled & mashed up layers of dramatic orchestrated film music. Doomy piano clunks, feed back brood & monk chants. Mixtures of slowed dark ritual percussion, hissing & baying electronics & brooding organ simmers. Cymbal heavy beat work outs over soured & grim mixture of music box uneasy, searing guitar scapes & creaking crypt door opening feedback. Through to more seared & noisy masses of blacked harsh noise that’s mixture with grimly ritual harmonics & beyond


This is certainty an intriguing, tripped out & dark heady experimental movie that has both some great visuals & sonic moments through-out it’s two hours length. Through it’s not all great, and from time to time it treads both clichéd & contrived imagery & sonics . It’s also rather missing any form of narrative  or flow which at times makes it feels like just a massive collection of edited together psychedelic & dark footage & sonics-which I guess it is. If your interested in dark or psychedelic experimental film making, or you enjoy some of the work of the 22 sonic acts involved here it’s worth checking out- just don’t expect a wholly rewarding or perfect slice of filmmaking.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Roger Batty
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