If a band name was ever perfect for the music it represents, The Blacktones is at the head of the field. The Italian outfit create a fusion of alternative/melodic metal and sludge thick stoner rock awash with the heaviest darkest shadows and emotions. It is invasive yet inescapably infectious as it snarls and ruggedly seduces in equal measure and especially magnetic within the band’s latest album, The Day We Shut Down The Sun.
Though in some ways feeling like a concept album, the band says The Day We Shut Down The Sun is “not a true concept, but every song represents a step by step journey to the losing of all the qualities of a human being. Following the tarots (starting with the pope, the fifth card) we represent the losing of faith, wisdom, genius, knowledge and finally, trough the Mage, we become the Fool, embracing the primordial chaos.” It is an alluring feel across the release bound in a thick collusion of hungry riffs, muscular rhythms, and melodic and vocal dexterity. Not always boldly unique, it is perpetually a proposition with individual character and enterprise which grabbed keen attention.
The band itself hails from Cagliari, formed in 2011 as an instrumental encounter by guitarist Sergio Boi and bassist Gianni Farci. Subsequently the line-up and creative intent evolved with the addition of drummer Maurizio Mura and vocalist Simone Utzeri, debut EP Distorted Reality arriving in 2012 before Aaron Tolu replaced Utzeri as frontman two years later. Their well-received self-titled debut album with guitarist Paolo Mulas bringing the band to a quintet drew potent interest with its release, as now its successor, via Sliptrick Records in 2015.It sowed the seeds for the richer and more rounded proposition of The Day We Shut Down The Sun and its more individual escapades.
Throughout the album, there are experimental darkly atmospheric intros, each counting down to the end of existence; the first in V – The Pope drawing ears and imagination into the waiting jaws of The Upside Down. Immediately a tide of sonic and vocal ferocity launches at ears, an instincts sparking groove infesting body and appetite within as rhythms pounce. Tolu’s vocals are just as rousing as the sounds around him, riffs adding a swing to their rapacity to match the tenacious endeavour of the increasingly contagious groove. Adventure and unpredictability blossoms as the song continues, bold sound and voice shaping one striking incendiary slab of metal.
The following Ghosts unveils a less imposing introduction but just as compelling with its suggestive intrigue and musical temptation. Down like grooves spread their lures from within the growing incitement, more aggressive traits emerging in all aspects but equally a tantalising melodic suggestiveness in guitar and harmonics which lures the imagination deeper into the ever present shadows.
The album’s title track makes an equally ear grabbing entrance, a predacious one as it prowls the senses with doom loaded rhythms amidst a slow tenebrific groove. Deep in its clutches you feel the lack of light, its thick weave a suffocating enveloping of the senses yet everything about it is contagious starting with Tolu’s ever enticing vocals. There is something certainly familiar about the excellent track yet plenty more fresh aspects in its trespass to demand praise carrying attention before Not The End backs its power up with its own pleasure brewing tempest. With a tinge of One Minutes Silence to it at times, the song twists and turns with an irritability in tone and sound as much a threat as it is a tempestuous seduction with stoner bred grooves and carnivorous basslines entwining for an even bigger lure.
Alone Together crawls over the senses, lumbering grooves and primal riffs enticing before dissipating for the melodic heart of the track to coax even closer attention. When they return with even greater weight and intensity as well as imagination, a lustful appetite was reeled in and only increased by the expressive and inventive journey taken while I.D.I.O.T.S. creates a web of stoner veins around metal antipathy to keep enjoyment just as intensive. Infectious and corrosive, the track is a great blend resembling Corrosion of Conformity meets Clutch and another highlight of the increasingly enjoyable album.
The Day We Shut Down The Sun is brought to a just as potent and mercurial conclusion by Nowhere Man and Broken Dove, the first a scorched and searing proposition as virulent in its calm predacious stroll as in its senses broiling blaze with its successor a more restrained but no less volatile collusion of sonic and emotional dissonance aligned to its own sonic furies. Both songs leave ears and pleasure entangled in their creative roars and each reinforces greater keenness in The Blacktones growth.
With a final pair of cards leaving the listener lost in the void, The Day We Shut Down The Sun is a release which should be checked out. It certainly grabbed attention first time around but really blossomed as an experience and pleasure thereon in.
The Day We Shut Down The Sun is available now through Sliptrick Records and @ https://theblacktonesband.bandcamp.com/album/the-day-we-shut-down-the-sun
Pete RingMaster 14/03/2018
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright