Review Summary: Heavy as balls
Really all this review should read is “Black Sheep Wall are fuc
king heavy”. In full that's all one really walks away with after any experience with the band, be it live or on recording. There's not too much more to them than that. Black Sheep Wall's first release I Am God Songs
was an interesting hybrid of noisy sludge and metalcore that came along at just the right time for it to seem fresh. Unfortunately freshness doesn't always lead to staying power. It works wonders when in the mood for it, but is far from a regular listener in terms or replayability.
So now four years and a crew of new members later, how have the southern Californians' progressed? Well, they really haven't much. It is obvious that the writing core of I Am God Songs
is still in tact, as while not as noisy throughout, what Black Sheep Wall has done on No Matter Where it Ends
is still rooted in the same vein of down-tempo sludgecore that's more Disembodied than Grief, only now it is a more refined and polished offering. This is both good and bad as Black Sheep Wall have never sounded more on point, but alas, the noisier elements on I Am God Songs
gave it a warped and twisted sense of personality that sounded downright evil which is missing on No Matter Where it Ends
. By smoothing their rough edges they also got rid of their greatest dynamic of crushing riffs and gnarled feedback intertwined into beastly tracks that sounded like they we're recorded in the depths of hell. That's not to say that No Matter Where it Ends
isn't a good listen, because on a track by track basis it does everything that it should: it kicks you outside the head like a mule with lead shoes – but over the course of the entire album it becomes homogenous with little variance in sound. Fortunately though, there are tracks like one two punch of “Torrential” and “Ambient Ambitions” that are just too damn good to get lost in the flow with their sullen latter-era Corrupted influenced chords and churning monster riffs, even if Trae Malone's vocals sound as if they were copied and pasted from any of the other songs on the album over them.
After all is said and done, No Matter Where it Ends
is an album that feels a little bit too safe in its own shoes. While Black Sheep Wall accomplish what they set out to do, one can't help but feel like it suffers from a stifling case of tunnel vision that keeps it from being so much more.