Receiving the Evcharist is our weekly feature where we pair choice albums with our favorite libations. Drink from the cup of heresy. This week’s offering: Magic Circle’s Departed Souls and Epic Brewing Company’s S.O.B.
The Metal: Magic Circle’s Departed Souls
Today we are venturing back in time on two levels for this column. Magic Circle’s Departed Souls was an album I was supposed to cover upon its release at the end of March, but vacation, bad internet, and extenuating circumstances prevented me from doing that, so we return today to pay our dues. Magic Circle’s music itself serves as something of a time machine too, transporting the listener back to the heyday of 70s rock in a way that feels less homage and more direct spiritual channeling. It’s no mistake that this is Magic Circle’s second time being featured here by me: they have always struck me as more wheat than chaff when it comes to bands that do the whole “retro rock” thing. The Sabbathian riffs of “Valley of the Lepers” and infectious swagger of “I’ve Found My Way to Die” put the band head and shoulders above both their competition, and even their previous material. Departed Souls has a less metal-oriented sound (both in production and in songwriting choices) than its predecessor Journey Blind to these ears, and yet the focus on a more rock-oriented sound gives the band more influences to draw from and incorporate, and adventurous choices like the minimalist trippiness of “A Day Will Dawn Without Nightmares” show a band that is not tethered to their influences, but uses them to forge a unique sound of their own.
The Booze: Epic Brewing Company’s S.O.B.
We’re gonna get what very well might be our last stout in for a while, considering that as of writing this it topped over 90 degrees today. Epic Brewing Company’s Big Bad Baptist has been a stout I’ve been meaning to try for a while now, but either price or availability has always kept it just out of reach. It is immensely lucky for me, then, that I found what might be the next best thing: Son of a Baptist, the 12oz can, scaled back version of the brew. While S.O.B. might be the ‘training wheels’ version of this drink, holy moly is this still a lot to handle. Hardly like a beer at all, except for the 8% ABV of course, the coffee presence here is so strong you’d think it was breakfast time, but for someone who puts black coffee among his favorite drinks, this is nothing close to a problem. The bitterness actually helps cut through the rich body nicely, and fades into a smooth chocolate finish. If you can make it through the initial sip, this is as nice a stout as you’re likely to ever find.
Cheers, and be good to each other,