Album Review: Black Moth

the killing jar (new heavy sounds)

Released last week, Black Moth's The Killing Jar is a monolithic debut. Touching on many genres from Metal, Stoner and Psychedelic Rock, the band manage to sculpt out their own unique sound from the dusty remnants of past eras, delivering sheer power and finesse along the way.

Hailing from Leeds, Black Moth's music, on first listen, could easily be confused with the likes of Misfits, Dead Kennedys or the sludgy, doom-laden riffs of metal pioneers, Black Sabbath. It's not until lead singer, Harriet Bevan's hypnotic vocals jump into action that Black Moth really come into their own. Take lead track, The Articulate Dead, for example - a powerful album opener with a frantic drumroll intro, shifting to a dirty Rock n Roll guitar riff - cue Bevan, and Bam! Something totally compelling is unearthed.

Blackbirds Fall is one of my favourites on the record, with a guitar riff instantly synonymous with that of Sabbath's Tony Iommi's iconic sound - clearly a legend in Black Moth guitarist, Jim Swainston's eyes. Amongst all the sludge and heavy distortion, Bevan's voice glimmers like a jewell in the dirt, commanding a kind of sexy authority and assertion in each song. This is something I love to hear, signifying the Nineties riot grrrl days of ballsy front-women.

Resonating and reverberating, Bevan's vocals are the main focus of The Plague Of Our Days, revealing a darker, more sinister tone as she sings "Kiss of death hold me in your sway". Only with the chorus does the darkness lift slightly with some poppier chants of "ooh ooh oohh". Chicken Shit, the band's current single moves away from the Stoner-Rock format and into some serious face melting guitar solos and upbeat head-banging riffs. A rush of frenzied instrumental parts make themselves known for the chorus, not unlike Queens Of The Stone Age's fast-paced section in No One Knows or a Rage Against The Machine track.

Plastic Blaze is a beautifully rusty track which Black Moth have not been afraid to take their time with. The drums set an almost painfully slow tempo, while the guitar plays a skilfully embellished counter-melody and Bevan's vocals lie ghostly and exaggeratedly slow over the top. Just when you think things couldn't get anymore laid back, the delicate rubato moments transform, and the track's half-way point initiates a faster pace with some classic Rock guitar rhythms and sounds.

The final song on the album, Honey Lung should be issued with a warning. When listening to the penetrating drones and and reverb just after the intro, I found myself very nearly slipping into some kind of meditative state, imagining far away lands and dark, dark things..but don't worry, the eventual increase of pace is sure to knock that out the window! The track is a great finisher; a gigantic wall of sound with some refreshing hints of eastern scales and modes that rise up from the merky depths.

Having already ordered my copy of The Killing Jar, I urge you to do the same. If the sound of powerful guitars, pounding drums and dirty drones does something unexplainable to you, then this is a compulsory addition to your CD collection. By taking elements of so many genres and referencing some of the most ground-breaking Rock bands, Black Moth have not only paid tribute to eras gone by, but revitalised, reinvigorated and put their own modern-day twist on a well-loved musical style so steeped in history. And in doing-so, have carved out a very successful future for themselves.