Saturday, January 29, 2011

New Band: Black Land

Also seen on Heavy Planet

Threw on Black Land's newest album, Extreme Heavy Psych, just to have some filler after watching the Green Bay Packers mop the floor with the Bears to head to the Superbowl (I know this is a bit outdated, but I like to keep a few days of articles pre-written), looking for something to keep me riding the high. What I ended up hearing began as some solid stoner/doom metal, but slowly petered off into nothingness. I had a full wave of emotions with this one, from excited to disappointed, and I think it was really a let-down.

Right off the bat, with the first song "Psych No. 1," I heard a definite influence from Ogre, the grooves were heavy, methodical and slow, and the first half of the track was instrumental. Then the vocals kicked in - standard doom vocals, nothing sludge here - and the song took off. A great track to lead off the album; from title to composition. The following song, "Black Wizard," was of the same vein, this time focusing more on the vocals as a contributing member, but still keeping the music alive.

With an album labeled as 'Extreme Heavy Psych,' I expected a bit more psychedelia within the music. There is a hint of psych throughout, but the group must have been more focused on the 'Extreme Heavy' part of the title. Whatever, it works, the doom blending in with the psychedelia, and having the continual hint of stoner in the background. It's a band that prides itself on layers within it's music, and you know how I like layers....thinking man music I call it, and I love it.

The song quality is a bit odd throughout, however. Extreme Heavy Psych will pair two kick-ass songs together, then follow it up with a couple of kind of boring songs. This happens, in a different fashion, throughout the entire album, and I think it really takes away from the songs that are good. The first two songs are great, then skip ahead to track five, "R'n'R Bite," which only stands out because it's a bit punky, and that is noticeable compared to the slower songs surrounding it, which is then immediately followed by an obvious 'filler' song, "Holy Weed of the Cosmos (The Great Ritual)," coming off more as trance then anything else. I suppose this is where they consider the psych to be. And then the album finished off with some uninspired doom metal (the last track, "Victims of the Cast," was ok but nothing special). It's really a shame, to have suck a great opening and have it fall into nothing.

When I began listening to this album, I was really excited, I thought I had found a new groove-laden doom band to enjoy. Instead, as the record went on, I realized that they had ferried all of their great tracks into the first fifteen minutes, and left the rest to suffer. I really think Black Land needed to spend some more time in the writing phase of Extreme Heavy Psych, instead of rushing it all to the studio. I threw the album on as filler, and although I thought it might have ended up being something more, filler was all it truly was.

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