The Black Angels – Death Song (Partisan Records)
Genre – Psyche rock
Written and recorded in large part during the recent US election, the music on Death Song ‘serves as part protest and part emotional catharsis in a climate dominated by division, anxiety and unease.’
Austin’s psych rock masters The Black Angels split their time between Seattle and their home town to record Death Song, as they worked with highly sought after producer Phil Ek (Father John Misty, Fleet Foxes, The Shins).
Since their formation in 2004, The Black Angels have become the flag bearers for 60s psych rock, with a perplexity for sharply honed, menacing fuzz guitar and whimsical wordplay, and fans will be glad to hear that Ek has kept that signature sound right at the heart of Death Song.
Opening with Currency, which is arguably the heaviest song the band has ever written in terms of its political weight and objection to the sense oppression that a monetary system has on our lives. This form of protest song has been lost through various generations of punk evolution, but the moral issues explored in this track, that were deeply rooted in the flower power / psych rock movements of the 60s, are more relevant today than ever before.
The strength of the album’s opening continues with I’d Kill For Her. Steeped in psychedelic rock, the track is full of kaleidoscopic licks, searing solos and captivating drum patterns that beautifully accompany a harrowing chorus of ‘take me to the killing fields.’
Hunt Me Down takes on a much more rock and roll vibe than its neighbouring tracks, and although that core sound remains, the classic rock guitars, heavy drumming and strong vocals stand out strong, in a track with razor sharp, clean cut production at its absolute finest.
This standout number is immediately followed by Grab You (As Much As I Can), a deep psychedelic, hallucinogenic number that sees Alex Maas’ effortless, carefree vocals lead the charge with the aid of Stephanie Baily’s steady rhythm behind the kit.
While each song on Death Song has merit for individual mention, the variety, song order, song structure and overall brilliance of this album is what makes it so unique. This is another incredible release from The Black Angels, who continue to bring the world trippy, politically infused rock and roll in the most classic sense of the genre.
RUSHONROCK RATED – 9/10 Spend and spend, all the money that you print!