Black Book Lodge

Entering Another Measure

Written by: AP on 06/08/2015 14:10:42

Last year, Black Book Lodge was established as a bright prospect in the stoner/doom segment of the Danish music industry through their solid debut album, "Tûndra". It was an exposition of a band willing to look beyond the conventions by which most practitioners of the genre shape their music, and while certain aspects of it failed to meet the overall standard, in my review of the record, I nonetheless saw a behemoth of a sophomore album in the making. The purpose of this article thus, is to investigate whether or not "Entering Another Measure" is the deliverance foretold.

Given that the 'Lodge managed to carve out their own niche on the predecessor, it is no surprise the band has elected to conserve the reverberating tone by which one can instantly recognise them. But at the same time, there are significant changes audible as soon as the start pistol is fired on the near 10-minute spanning "Martyr". The soundscape is fuller and more layered, and many of the chord progressions find their origin in progressive rock, to the extent that suddenly, mentioning Opeth or Tool in the same paragraph as Black Book Lodge does not feel so far fetched. The introduction of an additional guitarist in Trygve Borelli Lund — formerly the bassist — has undoubtedly played a key role in raising the music to another level, one where the concept of less is more has evolved into slightly more is more. Without having the necessary insight to make factual assertions, it would seem that Lund’s role change has given frontman Ronny Jønsson the opportunity to bounce his ideas off another talented musician, resulting in riffs and melodies that eclipse their forefathers in terms of texture and hue. This also affords greater freedom for the rhythm section controlled by bassist Steven Ardilsø and drummer Jakob Gundel, both of whom are fresh faces in the band's line-up compared to the personnel responsible for birthing "Tûndra”, to unfold.

As the instrumentation takes a less rigid form, the inevitable consequence is of course that the songs on "Entering Another Measure" are longer (none fall short of the 5-minute mark). Yet ironically, the album boasts the most lasting music Black Book Lodge has written to date, solidified in the central trio comprising the title track, "27 Years" and "New Provenance". The first of these is distinguished by the room afforded to Jønsson’s singing — a curious fusion of Tim Christensen and Josh Homme, I find — which soars, quivers and resonates over a radio friendly signature riff and 4/4 rhythm, sometimes in enchanting call-and-response exchanges with Borelli Lund, until the quartet brings the bombast halfway in one of the heaviest passages on the record. “27 Years” etches itself into memory by way of esoteric prog riffs and elegantly shifting dynamics whilst Jønsson channels his inner appreciation of Maynard James Keenan’s introspection with tremendous finesse — lyrically as well as vocally. “New Provenance” opens in dramatic fashion with a twisted melody and crashing chords and, once again, Jønsson’s superb control of his vocalisation producing a verse and chorus you won’t soon forget. The way the haunting quietus around the halfway mark slowly builds up to a synth powered crescendo makes it the ideal closing piece for “Entering Another Measure”, yet that role is filled in its wake by “Alizarin”, the only song out of the six on offer to leave me wanting. It is the slowest and loftiest of the lot, focusing primarily on the soft singing of Jønsson before an uplifting, cinematic wash of synths and effects brings the record to a conclusion - just not with as much grandeur as the preceding five songs demand.

The somewhat anticlimactic ending aside though, “Entering Another Measure” fulfils the prophecy mentioned in the preamble to this review. Black Book Lodge have successfully sounded out the weaknesses that kept “Tûndra” at bay and solved them with broader horizon, enriched palette of ideas, and significantly more depth in their song writing. The result is one of the most accomplished Danish releases to emerge this year and a milestone of Black Book Lodge’s career. But perhaps most importantly, “Entering Another Measure” bears the hallmark of a band far from finished, one whose full potential has not yet capped. One must hope that the quartet’s passion continues to burn, for their future has, without question, a genuine masterpiece in store for us.

8

Download: The Martyr, Entering Another Measure, 27 Years, New Provenance
For the fans of: Amplifier, Get Your Gun, Oceansize, Tool
Listen: Facebook

Release date 08.06.2015
Mighty Music

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