Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Black Math Horseman - "Wyllt"

With their first album “Wyllt”, slow-burners Black Math Horseman provide a brooding and cathartic addition to the doom metal/post-metal landscape. A big part of stoner rock and doom metal’s appeal is, of course, the almighty monolithic riff. BMH don’t ride out monstrously fuzzy riffs like Kyuss or Melvins, but the album boasts its fair share of nasty, wall-shaking, low-register guitar work (see “Deerslayer and “Origin of Savagery”). While it would be easy for these powerful musicians to riff first and ask questions later, BMH set themselves apart with really deliberate songwriting and production. “Wyllt” is meticulously constructed in terms of song structure, dynamic shifts, and orchestration. Restrained and razor-sharp guitars peel off doubled guitar-bass lines and float above singer Sera Timms' entranced vocals; drum fills are well-placed and never feel extraneous. These layered atmospherics (which recall Mouth of the Architect) are complemented by a tight and unyielding rhythm section (the first lines of “Tyrant” follow a drum-and-bass mind-meld that immediately evokes Al Cisneros and Chris Haikus from meditative doom grandmasters Om) that shifts from background groove to primary pummel to great effect in the songs’ rumbling crescendos. The vocals are generally ambient and monotone, but pair well with the lead guitar’s lilting eighth-note agitations. (To be completely honest, I can’t understand many of the lyrics, but they sure sound creepy).

All of these components come together to make some darkly satisfying rock music, but some of the tracks would benefit from a little less control and a little more raucous abandon. When Timms finally looses her throaty wail on the final track “Bird of All Faiths and None/Bell from Madrone”, it sounds singularly gnarly, operating as an explosive conclusion to the preceding tracks’ dark, controlled build-ups. Despite any slight shortcomings, this is consistently compelling heavy music – by turns, mysteriously slinky and impressively forceful. (If you don’t listen to the album in its entirety, try “Deerslayer” and the portentous “Torment of the Metals” which sounds like the musical equivalent of saying, “Enemies whom I am pursuing slowly but surely, pee thy pants in fear of my calculated rage during the next seven minutes and four seconds.”)



Tamara aka Cheapskate Mom said...

Congrats on being a Blog of Note!!

Scout said...

ohhh *that* kind of banger -- haha!

Howard "AJAX" Yeend said...

BMH is da' bomb!

Indian said...

Congrates for being on the list

Cranky Bloggers said...

Congrats on “Blogs of Note.”