Thursday, November 4, 2010

Psych With Teeth

BLACK LAND– “Extreme Heavy Psych” CD ’10 (Blood Rock, Ita) – Remember that song “The Way We Were?” Barbra Streisand, right? Hell, my dad loved Barbra Streisand…well, not in the Biblical sense, I s’pose my mom might have had a problem with that although I’m betting he’d have liked it but…damn, I’m ADHD-ing all over the place, now aren’t I? Thing is, that song started out with that line, “Memories, like the corners of my mind….” That’s what I was thinking when I started spinning this little piece of the pie that Mass from Black Widow Records sent me(BW is the exclusive distributor of Blood Rock Rec). (He sent me a ton of shit recently, and I’ll be getting to it all coming up, but stay patient…). See I started listening to this disc from Italy’s BLACK LAND and for some reason, I was hit with memories of a gigantic convention hall in King Of Prussia, PA. ‘twas there, some several years back that, in digging thru a box of dusty metal rekids on the floor, I came face to face with a hunk of vinyl from a British band called Mournblade. “Live Fast Die Young” was a cool find because it ended up being one of those quirky NWOBHM albums I love so much…the ones like Legend, Witchfinder General, Shiva, Split Crow, etc. that DID NOT sound like Judas Priest or Maiden. Now before you go getting your tighty whiteys in a bind, I’ve got nothing against those Metal Gods. Anybody who’s ever seen my shrine to “Stained Class” will attest to that. No, I just really had a fond place for the bands from that era who took a path-less-trodden than all the dual-lead, laser riffing monsters of the day and Mournblade was one. Kinda imagine a cross between Motorhead, Sabbath and some quite odd heavy-handed version of Hawkwind and you might be close.

So, imagine my surprise when I spun this new (and apparently 3rd) effort from BLACK LAND. Now to be fair, I’d say that BL has a lot more of the Sabbath end of the stick up their sleeves than the NWOBHM obscurities I described above but at the same time, my reaction was unmistakable…about three songs in and one word went thru my mind: Mournblade. That’s pretty damn cool and original…I mean, how many bands do you hear who remind you of friggin’ Mournblade?! I just love the style here…. Long songs to begin with, and you know how I like that! These guys will start with a heavy, Iommi-an lick, topped with some spacey electronic overlays and explore that for awhile. Then, just when you think you’ve got ‘em pegged, a rhythm shift snaps into action and your being dragged down the road on a Harley of a riff. Man, you can almost see Lemmy standing under his shower-level mike and nodding with a wart-ridden smile. The strength of this keeps up for an entire album, 8 songs including a triad of 9-minute behemoths that the word “truck” might suit quite nicely. Guitarist Willer steals the show here, not only with his simple-yet-effective riffs but more than once, this dude unleashes a wah-wah lead frenzy that completely takes u by surprise in it’s ferocity and peels some serious paint. Gotta say, as usual Black Widow delivers the goods, this time by distributing another bad-ass CD on the Blood Rock imprint. Just don’t get carried away and start putting out Babs Streisand stuff now, Mass! Extreme Heavy Sucker

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