Black Moth

The Killing Jar

Written by: AP on 29/12/2013 22:54:42

Bands that do not take themselves too seriously tend to score higher in my book for two reasons: (1) their philosophy tends to be one of free reins, and as a result, their approach to song-writing gets to be more playful, and the style of their music less meticulously defined; and (2) I get to crack a smile at their sharp wit and euphemisms. Black Moth, from the northern English city of Leeds, is one of these bands. Their Facebook page is the moth pit, and their personal definition of the sort of music they play is mothic horror. In truth, the band is not quite as eccentric as these facts may suggest, but despite not shattering any boundaries with this debut album from 2012 (now re-issued on vinyl, thus legitimising its long due review), there is youth and vigour seldom heard to it.

Blending a sliver of grunge and general deviancy into resurgent stoner metal, "The Killing Jar" plays like a breath of fresh air, never once sidestepping from its ambition of delivering heavy, energising, and perennially intriguing rock songs of the highest order. It is tempting to mention Kylesa in the context of this review, given the occupation of the front figure role in Black Moth by a female vocalist, Harriet Bevan, but the songs here never venture quite as deep into space. No, the resemblance is rather to Monster Magnet, Pet the Preacher and, above all, Red Fang, with whom Black Moth share their wacky, unhinged character. There's something deeply fascinating about Bevan's über-confident vocals, which strike a perfect balance between sleaze, sex appeal and psychedelia.

There is such strength in the opening trio that one immediately fears for the remaining 26 minutes-or-so, with "The Articulate Dead" unleashing a ballsy, punk fuelled assault which betrays a hint of the riot grrrl movement amidst its Black Tusk/Torche-y sludge pummel; the magnificent "Blackbirds Fall" lifting the foot off the pedal to enamour you with its sizzling desert rock ethos, Bevan's intoxicating voice mingling with massive riffs and bluesy solo work courtesy of Jim Swainston and Nico Carew; and "Banished But Blameless" inducing a potent and monumentally heavy concoction from Pet the Preacher's oomph and Monster Magnet's galactic drug odysseys. But rather than reveal their hand too quickly, there is much more still to come after this initial awakening, of largely unwavering quality.

"Spit Out Your Teeth" sounds wonderfully malicious, its main riff and Bevan's deranged spoken word of "I can't let you go, I can't let you go! / I cannot let anything happen to you! / Just stay with me here, just stay with me here! / And nobody evil or good can come near!" conjuring the image of a maniacally smiling Laina Walker (the overly attached girlfriend, you will remember) presenting a large knife to Jimmy Tatro in the infamous LifeAccordingToJim video posted on YouTube last year. The employment of the legendary blue note in the lead riff of "Plastic Blaze" pays clever homage to Black Sabbath, the conflicting tonalities producing a subtly unsettling effect in this doomiest of songs featured on "The Killing Jar", whilst "Blind Faith" and "Land of the Sky", between which it is embedded, see Black Moth embracing their grunge roots in absolutely endearing fashion.

Recent years have seen a deluge of bands practicing in the 'classic' rock genres and as a result, identifying the wolves among the sheep is no simple chore. It is with a slight hint of arrogance and self-satisfaction then, that I, among others of course, can claim to be carrying out that labour for you - and Black Moth are, without a doubt, that rosy flora battling through an ocean of weeds. The good news is that since "The Killing Jar" is, as mentioned in the preamble, a re-release, they've already got another record on the way, tentatively to be released during the first half of 2014. So hop on this wagon now while they're still underground and inexpensive.


Download: The Articulate Dead, Blackbirds Fall, Banished But Blameless, Blind Faith, Land of the Sky
For the fans of: Monster Magnet, Pet the Preacher, Red Fang, Torche
Listen: Facebook

Release date 01.10.2013 (originally 07.05.2012)
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