Black Book Lodge

We Are Legion EP

Written by: PP on 03/01/2012 04:16:04

You can always tell the difference between a debut album by a band with no previous recording experience and one whose members have been in other bands in the past. The reason I'm mentioning this is because I went into listening to Black Book Lodge's debut EP "We Are Legion" pretty much blind the first time. I didn't check the promo materials, who was in the band, or any of that stuff that gives you hints as to what to expect from the record. But it took exactly one listen to the EP as a whole to be fully convinced that experienced faces must be behind this Danish unit, because the soundscape is simply too rich and too layered in small detail to have been produced by newcomers to the scene. Granted, it can happen, but it's so rare that it's chance of happening is almost negligible in a country as small as Denmark. And if you dig into the background of Black Book Lodge, you'll find a CV boasting of bands as varied as Stella Blackrose, Joe and Honey, as well as The Shallow Man. And though only the first band has made an impact in Denmark, it's nonetheless important to have some experience in the background.

More importantly, however, Black Book Lodge don't sound anything like Stella Blackrose. In fact they have more in common with Mastodon's "Blood Mountain" than anything else, had that album been written with ambitious stoner rock in mind instead of the...well, whatever you define Mastodon as these days. We're talking expanding soundscapes that rely on plenty of dreamy vocals and lingering melody, but not at the expense of brooding heaviness that's the backbone of their expression. They are distinctly concentrating on creating ambient atmospheres, where artistic values far outweigh pop-oriented songwriting. Normally, such songs may feel like they drag on and on with no vantage point, but here, Black Book Lodge have written songs with class and mastery that's starting to approach Queens Of The Stone Age-like levels of sonic perfection, especially on "The Call" which sounds a great deal like their modern produce. Now, I'm not saying Black Book Lodge are there yet, but songs like "Battering Ram" and "Caravan" are pretty darn impressive for a debut EP, given how richly textured their overall soundscape is. They flow with a notable level of smoothness, with all instruments interacting with each other in perfect harmony. They certainly aren't your typical stoner rock songs, that's for sure.

In some places, you can draw a parallel between the extended roars of fellow metallers Rising and these guys. Except where Rising are sludge, Black Book Lodge draw from the stoner and atmospheric genres instead, notably from QOTSA like I mentioned earlier. But what's more interesting is how unified "We Are Legion" EP feels as a whole. Sometimes debut EPs both feel and sound like an incoherent mess; but here the opposite is the case. It has the sound of a band that knew exactly what they were going for, and executed it with determination. The result? An exceptionally promising EP that gives Black Book Lodge all the tools for a similar level of success as Rising in the near future.

Download: Battering Ram, Caravan
For the fans of: Mastodon, Rising, Queens Of The Stone Age
Listen: Bandcamp

Release date 11.09.2011

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