Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Black Hole Of Calcutta - S/T #2

I'm trying something a little different with this post, something I've really only done once before. Usually I write about music I've purchased, and focus mainly on the whole package. I suppose I talk about the actual music a little bit, but I've really only a 'review' of tracks about the A389 sampler earlier this year. But a few days ago I received an email from a band I knew nothing of, wanting me to write something up for their latest LP. It's the first time anyone has actually asked me to write anything, and I checked out their bandcamp page. Needless to say I liked what I heard, otherwise I wouldn't have bothered agreeing to write anything.  Sadly I'm going to have to be a bit hypocritical here; I know I say I get sick of endless sub-genres, but its necessary to discuss it this time around. You'll see why in a minute. So here goes, a review for the second self-titled album by Black Hole of Calcutta.

Things kick off with "Myth of Progress". When I initially heard this song, it reminded me of the self-titled album by Caulfield released a few years ago. The slow, ominous introduction made me believe I was in for a similar style throughout the album. How wrong was I. After the first 90 seconds, the song explodes into a furious frenzy which sets the tone for the rest of the album. And those vocals, I think they can best be described as a vicious howl more than anything. They sound almost like a deranged wolf has hijacked the recording apparatus, and I love it.  
"Age of Extinction" is up next and unlike the previous song, wastes no time getting straight into it. From the get go, BHOC blast it ridiculously rapidly. 
What really stood out to me during this album is the diverse range of (well I guess it would be sub-) genres displayed by the band. "Truth Is Never Told" is a prime example of this. While the previous two tracks seem to lean slightly more towards 'grind', this track definitely has a strong punk vibe coming through. I am always impressed when bands can merge styles into coherent work so well.
"Total Collapse" comes up next and is almost over before it's even begun. Although only lasting only 41 seconds, it is still only the third shortest song on the album, and again shows a diversity of styles. Things start with blistering speed as I'd come to expect at this point, but then is slowed right down with some doom-style guitar work for very brief periods. It may sound a bit strange in those words, but it really works.
"Cirrhosis" is the second longest track on the album, lasting just over 2 minutes. The blistering pace is maintained over the whole track, which I must say must be bloody tiring to perform.
"Genetic Control" continues the genre bending pathway of this album. The blistering speed experienced so far starts off the track, but after only 50 seconds it changes completely. The pace is drastically dropped until things are moving painfully slow. Even the howling vocals change to a deeper growl, similar to something like Oak.
At this point I didn't think it was possible for things to get any faster, but "No Turning Back" proved me dead wrong. Again it's a rather short track (only 37 seconds), but in a way that's just perfect. I feel that may be all the mere human mind is able to process at one time.
Things start a tad slower with "Nightmares", and you think you may just about get time to catch your breath. But you'd be wrong. After 20 seconds, the speed is brought right back up and continues for the rest of the track. The howling vocals seem especially vicious as this track plays on.
"Educate" picks up the punk feel again, which I think may be where Black Hole of Calcutta shine the most. Although perhaps I have a slightly biased view in that respect.
"No Regrets" and "Arm The Hopeless" are again over before you know it. The band seem to go all out on these two tracks and must be purely thrashing their instruments to the limit of their capabilities.
The drum work on the last track, "Vultures", is probably my favourite throughout the album. I could probably listen to that intro guitar riff over and over again as well, it's a great track to finish the album on.

While only just lasting 20 minutes, BHOC take us through a diverse 12 tracks. Hopefully after all of this you've become even a little intrigued about this album. If you have, give their tracks a listen, I've embedded them below for ease. The whole album is only $5, you can shell that out to support the band can't you? And if these digital downloads ain't your thang, you can always order a physical copy from Give Praise or I Feel Good records. 

By the way, if any other bands would like me to write a little something something about their work, fele free to email me. You can contact me on the "About Me" page.

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