27 November 2006

Come wintry night the fearsome...

Black Elk - s/t
Crucial Blast
7 November 2006
5 Stars

So a new "genre" has been developing over the past few years, a mature riff-rock with its foundation in hardcore and punk. In contrast to a metalcore who got way too big for its britches and became a mainstream darling, more discerning heads have been countering this awful trend with musicianship and thoughtfully heavy songwriting.

Portland, Oregon's Black Elk have crafted an album that displays their range as musicians with delightfully varied influences. Inventive (and un-ordinary!) lead lines counter sludgy march-like rhythms that could pass for either a zombie parade or a trudge through a peat bog. There are also faster passages that reveal a distinct Botch sensibility. I mean, these guys are from the Pacific Northwest, so why not pay a little homage to one of the best bands from the region (and probably one of the best bands ever, but I digress...).

Overall this album is a straight-through kickass listen. I couldn't pick out any weak points, and there was consistent energy from start to finish. Well-written, worldly lyrics and great album art round this package out. I hope this debut album only hints at where these guys can go. Well done, gentlemen. Definitely pick this up.

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