Friday, 19 July 2013

Blackholicus - Megaforte (2009) | 90%

I only dream in black and white

Coming from Texas, this band is truly fucking underrated and definitely deserve more recognition. Their two albums are pretty damn good but I decided to review the second one since I think it's a better example of their genre. They sound like a female fronted Slough Feg, that's obviously a simple description to make some people interested but they're so much more than that.

Metal is often accused of not being artistic enough, instead it's primitive and for the working class, etc.. Sometimes being raw or amateurish as hell is truly acceptable as it's a genre that comes from the heart. Blackholicus, on the other hand, can definitely combine passion for heavy things with a classical and almost baroque approach. The band plays something quite unique that I never heard anywhere else, they have this tasty instrumental side to heavy metal (1/3rd of the album is instrumental, 6 tracks on 11 on a 35 minutes album, whaaa, I hate mathematics!). And it's neither post metal or any trendy stuff like that, it stays what it is and it's working wonderfully through their awesome songwriting.

The band is proving once again that women in metal shouldn't be a big deal and that their input is important both because of its pertinence but its social connotation. Indeed, Margaret Myrick is extremely talented, her bass playing is excellent and her voice, not cute like the mundane divas of symphonic power balling, is instinctive, honest and fits the music. Nevertheless, it's treated as a true instrument here and it's rarely the focus of the music. She also sounds like Laura Pleasants of Kylesa a little and that's a plus in my book ! 

The leads are very Mike Scalzi esque and the intricate guitars serves as the main ingredient in their recipe. The music is very fast, it has speed, heavy metal and even thrash metal components, it has this old school feel similar to Iron Maiden's instrumental tracks like Losfer Words from Powerslave. It's loud, uncompromising and hits you in the face with its original and experimental approach that is subtle but very obvious after many spins. The structures of the songs are complex and while never bordering the progressive territories, it has some avant garde tendencies, not quite in the sound but in the intent. The song ''Victory I'' is 5 minutes of hard hitting instrumental heavy metal and it's one of the best tracks on Megaforte. Blackholicus also has this classical side that in my opinion could be expanded, there's some parts here and there such as the 45 seconds conclusion ''Charm'' that are wonderful and soothing and has acoustic guitars.  It's an interesting counterbalance to their fast and rocking side. Loud bass, shredding leads, fast drums are all coming together to create very powerful and witty atmospheres.

The production is pretty interesting for their sound, the guitars are screechy and high, the vocals are buried but not too much and the intonation is enjoyable. The only modern thing to be found here is the aim of changing the conventions and making something different with an old school heavy metal basis. Outstanding stuff and well worth a look if you're into traditional metal and think the genre is a bit uninspired these days. Both of their albums are decorated with superb and dreamy black and white art to make the experience complete.

Weird without being obnoxious, inventive without being derivative, Blackholicus is expecting you.

Blackholicus on Facebook

1 comment:

horrox said...

Interesting you say they sorta sound like Slough Feg - 'cause I found out about Blackholicus via Mike Scalzi of Slough Feg, they'd played together and he recommended 'em to me. Great band!