Black Moth

Condemned to Hope

Written by: BV on 12/09/2014 17:38:07

I first got into Black Moth due to the steadfast recommendations of fellow scribe AP, following his review of their 2012 debut effort ”The Killing Jar”. What lured me in was the combination of grunge-infused, yet stoner-rock sounding guitar-work, confident female vocals ripe with sex appeal and a rhythm section so devastatingly heavy that I almost found it unnerving. What kept me fascinated, however, was their knack for songwriting that leans so much towards the Sabbath-esque, yet retains a unique and not entirely unoriginal set of characteristics that had as much to do with grunge as they did with doom, stoner metal and, in some cases, the vastly psychedelic and beyond. With “Condemned to Hope”, their sophomore effort, Black Moth sets out to live up to the potential of their debut whilst retaining the set of characteristics that made them so enthralling in the first place.

From the get-go of opening trio “Tumbleweave”, “Set Yourself Alight” and “Looner”, Black Moth seem to have taken all of the aforementioned qualities and melded them into tracks that not only highlight their genre-combinations of grunge, stoner, doom and everything in between, but also grow past that to include certain instrumental passages which border on the progressive whilst remaining earthbound - due in no small part to the sheer groove of Dom McCready’s drumming and Dave Vachon’s bass-riffing. It nearly goes without saying, though, that Harriet Bevan’s vastly alluring vocals remain an undeniable centerpiece of this musical constellation, yet it is the combined efforts of the quintet that make for such a successful and dynamic soundscape – as can be heard on “Looner”, wherein Bevan’s vocals completely dominate the verses, only to be involved in a twisted version of the call and response dynamic with the warped guitar leads that occasionally frequent the verses, courtesy of Jim Swainston and Nico Carew.

For such a heavy opening trio (quite reminiscent of “The Killing Jar’s structure), one might initially fear that the greatest tracks have been aired only to be replaced by the album’s not-so-great tracks. However, such fears are not entirely warranted. Granted, the album becomes somewhat stagnant with the introduction of “The Last Maze” which seems to be the odd one out on the album in terms of dynamics, craftsmanship and general feel. However, with the introduction of tracks like “Red Ink” and the quite magnificent “Room 13” one feels right back on track, locked in a groove that is unmistakably characteristic of Black Moth’s songwriting. On “Room 13” the band is reminiscent of the Danish act Fuzz Manta on their earlier output, yet their sound seems to be superior in terms of production, songwriting and the general sense of direction that surrounds “Condemned to Hope” as an album. Ultimately “Condemned to Hope” is a great success on its own –but also as an extension of the sounds and potential displayed by Black Moth on “The Killing Jar”.

Download: Tumbleweave, Room 13, Looner, Set Yourself Alight
For The Fans Of: Fuzz Manta, Monster Magnet, Pet the Preacher
Listen: Facebook

Release date 15.09.2014
New Heavy Sounds



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