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Music Review

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Death Song


Artist: The Black Angels
Label: Partisan Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 21 April 2017

The Black Angels are described as a Psych Rock band. They formed in 2004 in Austin, Texas, in America, and have since founded the Levitation Festival and toured in support of Queens of the Stone Age. They incorporate Christian Bland on guitar, drone machine and organ; Alex Maas on vocals, bass and organ/drone machine; Stephanie Bailey on drums and percussion; Kyle Hunt on keyboards, percussion, bass and guitar; and Jake Garcia on guitar.

Death Song is the band’s fifth full-length album, but the first in four years. It is released 21 April 2017 on Partisan Records. The Black Angels are currently on tour in support of the title, including a handful of dates in the UK, and hit the London Forum on 22 September.

I would definitely describe this genre as Psychedelic, but not as in David Bowie’s 'The Laughing Gnome'; more in the vein of Pink Floyd’s 'Interstellar Overdrive', and 'Astronomy Domine' – only not nearly as good. There are influential elements of Goth Metal very much in evidence in nearly every song. This means the structure throughout is very similar: lighter verses, with heavy riffs and choruses. I’m afraid that pretty soon it all began to meld together. Each song should really shout out its own identity; there has to be some individuality, like separate quirky hooks or a different way of putting across the vocals (these are sung mostly in the same tone). The sound is very solid and professional but it’s too ‘samey’.

I can certainly imagine 'Comanche Moon' being played in the UFO Club in the 1960s, as it’s the best of the bunch… until 'Life Song'. The final track is something different and so comes across like a breath of fresh air. In fact, it’s very atmospheric and carries some emotion. This feeling is heightened further still by a lovely guitar solo. It proves so refreshing after the constant fuzz of the previous tracks. If only they were all this good.


Ty Power

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