Saturday, 21 July 2012

Review: Black Moth - The Killing Jar 

A Seamless Integration Of Varied Influences 

Taking as much inspiration from L7 and The Stooges as Black Sabbath and The Melvins, Black Moth's sound is very fresh. This is not your standard doom/stoner affair. Black Moth feature grungy female vocals, which go perfectly with their dirty riffs. As well as having a strong grunge vibe, the band often draws on psychedelic influences. With their unique blend of influences, Black Moth truly prevail in creating an interesting and enthralling sound.

If you are someone who gets hung up on categorizing bands into (sub)genres, this will be a troubling record for you. While their sound is certainly rooted in doom and stoner metal, this does not begin to encompass who they are. The grunge influence is highly prominent. Psychedelia does rear its head on several occasions. The most prominent example of this is on the album's riveting closer "Honey Lung". The song is a fascinating mix of doom, psychedelia, arabesque guitar sections as well as some more rock orientated sections. 

Despite the sound being largely doom/stoner metal, the song structures generally have more in common with rock. It never really sounds like actual rock music, but many of the songs are written in the same way you would go about writing a rock song. This makes sense as the band lists proto-punk and hard rock as influences. With scathing lyrics as seen in "Chicken Shit", Black Moth certainly have a rock'n'roll attitude. Vocalist Harriet Bevan says that the recent bands that speak to her the most are the heavy, abrasive and sleazy. This certainly shows in her own music.

The Killing Jar was produced by Jim Sclavunos, who has played in many bands. He has been in Sonic Youth, as well as accompanying Nick Cave in The Bad Seeds as well as the recently defunct Grinderman. The band has said that Jim really pushed them to be at their best. It looks like his high standards has really payed off. While the riffs have a dirt-ridden sludgy feel to them, the production is great. While dirty, you can still make everything out. It is neither overly polished or needlessly raw. 

Black Moth's unique sound would be wasted if their songwriting wasn't of high quality. This is not a problem for them. Every song is well thought out and sounds great. Female fronted doom metal is something that is really picking up lately, and Black Moth are one of the best. Their seamless integration of a variety of influences is something that deserves to be heard. 


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