Black Map

...And We Explode

Written by: EL on 09/12/2014 20:20:13

San Francisco based band, Black Map, came into formation through the workings of Mark Engles (Dredg), Chris Robyn (Far) and Ben Flanagan (Trophy Fire). Having formed only a year ago they have since toured with the likes of Tombs and Kill Devil Kill and have just released their debut album, "...And We Explode".

The album itself overall is a fine piece of work with Ben Flanagan’s vocals really soaring throughout with extreme melodic finesse. The many technical and intricate layers of various tones and themes keep you focussed and never drop your attention. This is what good albums are all about. I never once felt myself getting bored and was keen to really get stuck in and get lost in the many variations of symphonic sound.

The album starts off with a funky, oozing with cool, head bopper, "Code". The track smoothly whines through with an alternate 90’s vibe with sensual determination and a bass heavy undertone. "Chinaksi" follows with an abrupt and choppy intro with more crooning vocals and soaring choruses; the technicality in this song is evident especially from drummer Chris Robyn's performance. Mark Engles’ guitar purposefully moans throughout and carries Flanagan’s vocals perfectly. The tones of this song go from the powerfully poetic to the mean and aggressive throwdown-worthy. Album favourite "I’m Just The Driver" comes in all guns-a-blazing with its kick ass beats and exceptionally intoxicating vocals. Flanagan’s vocals really are going from strength to strength on this album and this song is immediately put on repeat because it’s just so god damn awesome.

The first three tracks of this album really do prove to be an unstoppable driving force and set the bar high in keeping the momentum and fluidity throughout the rest of album going. Tracks such as "And We Explode pt.1" and "Gemini" provide us with the answer as to whether or not they can beat their own highly set bar by demonstrating that, despite the somewhat formulaic pattern seen in this album, each track is able to stand on its own two feet comfortably and many of the tracks could with no doubt be radio worthy singles. What I like most about this album is the influences it has quite obviously been born from. With sounds reminiscent of Deftones and Tool you’d be insane not to really appreciate the melodic and intricate talents that are found on this album.

The album closer, "And We Explode pt.2", shifts the mood and slows the tempo down completely. It’s soft, melancholic, haunting and brings me back to the earlier days of Muse with its ‘orbiting in space, completely alone’ vibe. Flanagan’s vocals are yet again so totally on point I find myself actually humming along to the song without realising I’m doing it. This song reminds me of watching a sun set over a city, simple yet dramatic and daring. This final track shows us the huge range in talent found in this three-piece band.

If you haven’t already opened your soul to this album, you need to do so effective immediately as I dare say this may just make it into one of you top picks of 2014.

9

Download: Code, Chinaski, I'm Just The Driver
For The Fans Of: Deftones, Tool, Far
Listen: facebook.com

Release date 27.10.2014
Minus Head Records

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