The Black Angels
Death Song


3.8
excellent

Review

by Raul Stanciu STAFF
April 19th, 2017 | 27 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: All encompassing trip...

The Black Angels are the perfect example of a really consistent band that always knows what is capable of and which sonic direction they should head into. Since their excellent debut, Passover, the guys have been concentrating on ‘60s-rooted psychedelia, albeit more intense and dirty. On top of these acid rock leanings, dark elements such as somber lyrics or paranoid keyboards thrive, driving the grooves, all the while maintaining an overall mysterious imagery. The group broke the pattern through Indigo Meadow, a meandering LP, full of substantially friendlier material. Gone were the washes of heavy distortion, giving way to twangy melodies and more prominent vocals from Alex Maas. The less whiny, more powerful and sarcastic tone used was actually a big plus there, I wish he kept it on a constant basis. Unfortunately, the album split the fan base, as some weren’t ready for their favorite act to go light on them. I found it really suitable, because once some layers were removed, you could find really cool tunes that were seen in a new light there.

So now, keeping in mind what purists want and dosing the penchant for poppier cuts, The Black Angels offer us Death Song, their most socially aware record yet. Whether they address political issues, genocides (both historic and contemporary) or anxieties caused by alienation or inability to cope with the overwhelming pace of the 21st century, the band smoothly blends the beautiful with the ugly. In between the loud, razor wired guitar attack you also get lovely picked chords or bouncy bass lines. ‘I’d Kill for Her’ & ‘Medicine’ meld best these intertwining styles, whereas the barn burning groove of ‘Comanche Moon’ is probably the strongest moment here. Jumping from swaying to pounding beats, we’re kept in a tensed state (something they worked on since day one), until they kick the door down with the main hook. These mood shifts occur throughout the entire album, each song delivering at a different tempo and sharing its own diversity. ‘Estimate’ brings to mind the dreamy side of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, only to be followed by ‘Death March’, resembling Interpol, but with a heavy dose of psychedelic drugs on board. As ‘Life Song’ closes this affair, leaving us to forever float in space (much like Major Tom, may him rest in peace), there’s a bittersweet feeling that even though the music is great, it tells us things aren’t right around us and seem to continue going downhill.



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user ratings (36)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
April 19th 2017


4343 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Great album, however, I wish they'd stuck with the pop hooks of Indigo Meadow for a longer while. Still, it brings a mix of older stuff and that album.



Full stream: http://www.npr.org/2017/04/13/523426857/first-listen-the-black-angels-death-song



'Currency' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qryaZmxdK1A

'Half Believing' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YCxyLR6cv0

'I'd Kill for Her' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSB3ur1c5vE

Digging: The Flying Eyes - Burning the Season

SowingSeason
Moderator
April 19th 2017


24601 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Nice work. I streamed this earlier today while making the weekly releases post and found it enjoyable but not noteworthy. I may listen again when it can serve as more than background music and see if it has more of an impact. I will say there wasn't a single bad song from cover to cover.

Digging: The National - Sleep Well Beast

CompostCompote
April 19th 2017


734 Comments


Best band to take LSD and then stand in an empty elevator.

rodrigo90
April 19th 2017


2924 Comments


Need to drink some pepsi

fallenbird
April 19th 2017


4473 Comments


Is this the album for the Pepsi revolution?

PattBraderson
April 19th 2017


151 Comments


Given their style and being named Black Angels, you'd think they'd have the awareness to not use an album art that resembles Black Keys "Turn Blue" so closely

AaroN911
April 19th 2017


1803 Comments


sponsored by Pepsi

*EDIT* I am not original nor the first...

SandwichBubble
April 19th 2017


3728 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The premier "3.0 good" album of 2017 right here!*







*sponsored by PepsiCo, Inc. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvHMbaRn9EM

Digging: Yeasayer - All Hour Cymbals

TVC15
April 19th 2017


8439 Comments


Oh shit hype. Directions to See a Ghost is incredible

Digging: Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Luciferian Towers

CompostCompote
April 19th 2017


734 Comments


Album art looks like my granny's tablecloth.

rodrigo90
April 19th 2017


2924 Comments


It's a ripoff of deerhunter's cryptograms.

Jips
April 19th 2017


1141 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

their best since Directions.





bloc
April 19th 2017


43037 Comments


Yeah I was gonna say something about Pepsi

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
April 20th 2017


4343 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

@Sowing - thanks! check out Indigo Meadow if you haven't, I find it catchier than this one.

JustLikeBart
April 20th 2017


96 Comments


V good band.

Skooled
April 20th 2017


17 Comments


I LOVED Phosphene Dream. Every new album I am hoping they revisit that sound. It probably won't happen because at the time they were using a different producer. But that album, to me, was their best.

This album is pretty similar to all their other stuff, which isn't bad, but that sound is overdone. The actual track "death song" is terrible

L4titudes
April 21st 2017


3295 Comments


I should really check out more of this band. The Passover is excellent.

Sunnyvale
April 21st 2017


686 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

First song is killer.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2017


4343 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Comanche Moon, I'd Kill for Her and Currency are really good tracks.

DominionMM1
April 22nd 2017


14829 Comments


will check this later tonight



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