Black Fast
Starving Out the Light


4.0
excellent

Review

by DePlazz USER (8 Reviews)
February 10th, 2019 | 15 replies


Release Date: 2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Rari nantes in gurgite vasto.

In the murky generic sea of modern metal, it's always hopeful and gratifying to see a young band flashing their bright light and standing their ground. Black Fast's full-length debut (they have an EP that pre-dates this) just has that je-ne-sais-quoi quality to grab and hold your attention. As a matter of fact, je sais quoi. On the surface, there's the immediate points of reference and recognition that help to anchor and situate the contemporary musical veins in which these dudes operate. Thus, Aaron Akin's raspy vocals as well as the dystopian lyrics and some of the higher-register riffing bring Vektor to mind, while the chord progressions and bursts of melodic shred are regularly reminiscent of Revocation, and a Lamb of God-like groove is also definitely going on in places. Defining this particular album's stylistic and sonic signature in terms of a blend or amalgam of bands X+Y+Z, however, would be pointlessly reductionist vis-a-vis the freshness this St Louis, Missouri quartet brings to the game. As far as tags go, this is progressive blackened thrash metal. Then again, Black Fast also crafts its own very distinctive style, drawing from the subgenre's technical and compositional resources and conventions, while at the same time remolding and enhancing them from a peculiar jazzy angle.

Opener Levitations already showcases a great deal of the album's creative capacity at slower to mid-tempo. The ominous main theme riff and the distorted gypsy-jazz chord progression accompanying the verses are interesting in themselves, but by the time the track dives into its second bridge section with a tight jazz/thrash jam (that's right - I've already referred to jazz four times now), it is clear: these guys know how to write intriguing and captivating music. Catchy with complex overtones, combining clever hooks with a dissonant bite at the right moment: it could be the tagline or disclaimer for this track as well as for all the following. The more up-tempo Progenitors of Predation is tritone heaven with a surprisingly funky swing in the outro, Colony Collapse has some of the most irresistible riffs and chord progressions in contemporary thrash, whereas Obelisk creates an instant earworm with its anthem-like tremolo-picked main riff. Following the meditative acoustic interlude Lost Between Worlds, the title track and Lack Regard, while already prefiguring patterns on sophomore Terms of Surrender, nevertheless take off into unexpected breakdowns and twists. Each song develops several memorable themes and displays original tempo and plot changes, but not to the point of arty-fartiness - and never at the expense of coherence.

Musical skill is undeniably at work here, both on compositional and performative levels. The interplay between the bass, guitars and drums is very tight and each instrumental part is sufficiently articulated, although the guitars are naturally spotlighted. The two guitar parts are put to ample use for complementary riffing and interesting harmonies. In particular, riff constructions often involve a puzzling degree of inventiveness and dexterity. The bridge and lead-backing riffs in Obelisk, for instance, are conceived over roughly half the fretboard and will give both fretting and pickings hands a run for their money. Some of the other riffs are simply too fast to follow (see Lack Regard and the bridge sections in Progenitors, Colony Collapse and t/t). Ferocious melodic leads are generously distributed across the album, never in a gratuitous fashion but always fitting the passage at hand. Obelisk deserves a special mention in this respect.

The enthusiasm and brilliance these young musicians bring to their debut make it easy to forgive some of the sonic flaws. The well-balanced mix of all the instruments somewhat compensates for a production that is generally flat and makes the album sound patched and assembled in places. All in all, however, everything about this short and fast debut breathes promise and potential. The album just sweeps by, and before you can say 'progressive blackened thrash chord progression', you are already left asking whatever these dudes will be up to next.



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user ratings (33)
Chart.
3.8
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
DePlazz
February 10th 2019


1575 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Needed a review, deserves discussion.

Their best album to date imo.

bloc
February 10th 2019


56999 Comments


Good ass shit, shame the last one sucked

Digging: Ultravox - Vienna

Storm In A Teacup
February 10th 2019


26750 Comments


oh i thought the new one was their only one lol. and it's amazing bloc wtf.

bloc
February 10th 2019


56999 Comments


Listen to the first 2 and then get back to me

TundraL5Z
February 10th 2019


3004 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is the G.O.A.TTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT

Digging: Shadow of Intent - Melancholy

DungeonBoy
February 11th 2019


6407 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice review dude, POS. I've always dug this band's sound but not so much their songwriting. But, that riff in Progenitors of Predation around 2:25 puts a smile on my face every time.



https://youtu.be/ZwxZa6VzfUc?t=145

Digging: Guild Of Lore - Storm Haven

DungeonBoy
February 11th 2019


6407 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

DOUBLE POST, DOUBLE THE RIFFZ



https://youtu.be/ZwxZa6VzfUc?t=145

DePlazz
February 11th 2019


1575 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

^Killer riff, indeed. One of many.

Thanks!

DePlazz
April 7th 2019


1575 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Bumpin tha good stuffz

bloc
April 7th 2019


56999 Comments


Ugh them halftime thrash riffs always kick ass

mindleviticus
May 28th 2019


9830 Comments


RIFFS!!!!!!

Casavir
May 28th 2019


3638 Comments


Wanted to jam this one later.

Hawks
May 28th 2019


73083 Comments


Berry loves this band so they prob blow ahrd.

Digging: Dead Can Dance - The Serpent's Egg

DePlazz
May 28th 2019


1575 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

You haven't heard this so it must blow

CaptainDooRight
June 1st 2019


4091 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

rips

Digging: Joni Mitchell - Song to a Seagull



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