Wednesday, March 7, 2018

ALBUM REVIEW - Black Moth: Anatomical Venus

Whenever the word “Sabbath” turns up in a press release for a band in 2018, I tend to cringe.

Any Metal band worth their salt will cite Black Sabbath as an influence, but the past few years have seen a procession of new artists following the masters’ lead to laughable – and embarrassingly contrived – extremes. Sure, many of these group look the part, but a listen through one of their insipid platters often reveals a gaggle of hipster hippies with a faux fuzzy production and a frustrating lack of fresh ideas. Not only does the press material accompanying Black Moth’s Anatomical Venus mention Sabbath, but it also features the other sacred “S” word: Stooges. Frankly, doing this is simply asking for trouble and a guaranteed way for me to instantly hate your band. With that in mind, imagine my surprise and delight when I hit “play” on this thing and began a journey through what will quite possibly end up being the very best album of 2018.

A truly gifted singer, frontwoman Harriet Hyde possesses the kind of versatile voice that would work just as well on a Soundgarden song as it would on a Top 40 Pop number. She adds an uncommon accessibility to this style of music that will appeal to both the Evanescence crowd and the grizzled Saint Vitus contingent. And the music? Utterly pristine. Highlights include the incendiary “Sisters Of The Stone,” the C.O.C.-infused Groove Metal of “Moonbow,” the Lizzyesque twin guitar attack on “Buried Hoards” and the closing “Pig Man” – a fiery slab of Noise Rock caterwauling akin to the early sound of NYC underground giants Boss Hog. And when the band turn their Sabbath worship up to 11, they match anything on Sabotage. Really. As for the Stooges influences, there are certainly plenty of subtle nods to Fun House to be found here. Well done.

Although Black Moth are not completely reinventing the wheel on Anatomical Venus, there is an undeniable sincerity and integrity to this music. Much in the same way that Arch Enemy have added a successful splash of commerciality to their sound in recent years, Black Moth are moving Doom/Stoner Metal forward by incorporating a sorely needed boost in production quality and a welcome focus on composing songs that strive to rise above the standard (and tired) formula. While far too many groups are stuck attempting to milk the magic of the past, Anatomical Venus is the sound of the genre’s future. An essential listening experience. 

Photo courtesy of Freeman Promotions

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