This is a varied and diverse release; an hour of drone, doom and experimental sounds that mixes a huge array of influences from all manner of styles and genres.
Savage blackened sludge metal mixes with soft synth cinematic sounds, progressive rock showpieces, post-metal reflective lightness or doom explorations. These descriptions actually don’t manage to capture even half of what’s on Black Hole Smile, but it’s a flavour at least.
This really is like Today Is the Day on steroids or something; it has that same unclassifiable experimental sludge base as Today Is the Day, but with probably even wider and more expansive influences. As a simple breakdown, if you take Today Is the Day and mix them with Jesu, that’ll give you an oversimplified place to start from, I suppose.
There really is a lot going on here. There’s bits of sludgy rock too, some proto-industrial…a bit of American sludge…you can almost name any random sub-genre and find an example of it somewhere on Black Hole Smile, if even for a brief moment. Hell, there’s even some parts that remind me of Temple of the Dog and Nine Inch Nails.
There are 17 tracks on this release, and with the exception of a few, most are quite brief, delivering a short soundscape or mood piece of some description.
As well as the standard instrumentation you’d expect to find, there’s also others on here too that create a plethora of different noises and sounds across the extensive playing time. The brain behind this outfit is obviously not short of either talent or ideas, and it all comes together well.
To say this is a rich and multi-textured listen is somewhat of an understatement. It’s a definite journey for the listener to take, and as I’ve repeatedly said in the past, music that can transport you in this way is usually some of the best.
The vocals are as diverse and all-over-the-place as the music – everything from cleans to screams are thrown into the mix. Like the music they’re very well performed and delivered.
You may have gotten the impression so far that this potentially sounds disjointed, or lacking in flow, or similar; reading back what I’ve written this is understandable, but this actually isn’t the case. Although not 100% perfect, the vast majority of this impressive release flows well both within the songs and from one piece to the next.
Music as diverse and experimental as this will never appeal to a wide fanbase, but for people that enjoy challenging extreme music then this is definitely something to pick up.
Very highly recommended.