Aug 15, 2011

Black Spiders – Sons of the North ...

Black Spiders were all the rage back in 2010 when this album first came out. It was my inherent, almost reflexive aversion-reaction to hype that made me steer clear of them at first and even when I did give them a casual listen, I was under the influence of my natural prejudice to anything universally appreciated. I see the error of my ways now, and, as penance, here it is. Before anything though, here’s the gist of my case: believe the hype.

Black Spiders play HARD ROCK, and I don’t mean it in a stylistic way. They are firmly grounded in hard rock and riff rock – and both, they mingle with their own identity. What’s involved is a very nice blend of raging guitars, burning solos, pulse-raising drumming, rockin’ bass all laid under a powerful strain of rock vocals. Huge, beautiful, hard riffs, addictive hooks galore and sing-worthy lyrics. That’s the essence of Black Spiders, and this album, as it once commented by someone far more experienced than I, “rocks hard, top to bottom.” Well, that’s what Black Spiders intend to do – rock. HARD.

As a testament to this, the album doesn’t have an intro, an ambient passage, an opening riff atop which other instruments are based, nothing. The first song, “Stay Down” just sort of STARTS and it fires on all cylinders simultaneously. It has statement of intentions written all over it, as it has the frenetic riffing, powerful vocals and the inexhaustible energy of Black Spiders and gets your blood boiling, fast and easy.

Then comes the quirky “KISS Tried to Kill Me” which is about just that, believe you me. It’s a mid-tempo song, but doesn’t mean it doesn’t rock just as hard, it’s just a little more easy on the pace is all. It’s a hard rock track if I ever heard one, and it’s beautiful.

It’s followed up with the single-worthy “Just Like a Woman” which ups the sleaze ratio while rocking harder. The riffs just keep coming, the hook infects you and the bridge section is an interplay between two guitars laying solos on top of one another, it’s simply mind-blowing. Then comes “Easy Peasy” which is the feel good track, marked by vocal interplay between Pete Spiby, the band’s lead vocalist and the female guest, Danni Maibaum and it’s very, very good. In the verses, they trade vocal parts, they sing the hook together and add extra croons and ooh yeahs to the music while solos lick the whole plate clean. I know, I get a little out of hand sometimes.

Then, suddenly bored with their hard/riff rock stylings, the band give way to doom in the longest track of the album, “Blood of the Kings.” Clocking in just over seven and a half minutes, this one has the doomy grooves, swampy pastures mixed with the raging rock hook, both of which are catchy as hell. Surprisingly, the band get very comfortable groovin’ and display high degree of skill and finesse with it throughout the track, and create a beast when it’s time to get harder and faster. Next up, connected with its intro in the final moments of the track preceding it, is “St. Peter.” It is more of a doom song than the one before it – lazier groove, mid-tempo and beautiful hook (“St. Peter won’t you let me in, Lord knows all the trouble I’m in”) makes this one a perfect track in every sense of the word. It also displays the bands ability to shift gears and keep things interesting…

And just as well, because deciding that that’s enough groovin’ and comfort, the band shift it upwards and launch into “Man’s Ruin” that is a step up from the doomy stylings of the earlier tracks and far more rooted in the hard riff rock they’ve been bringing earlier. It’s a grooving, rocking ride and one of the band’s upper mid-tempo offerings that will rock your socks off. Then comes “Medusa’s Eyes” which brings it back to the high-speed, clenched-teeth, banging-head. It just rolls off your ears and surges through you. It hits hard, with pounding drums and burning licks of guitar and it’s a testament to how much flow Black Spiders have in every track they make.

Next up, is “Si, El Diablo.” It’s an infectious, devilish (if I may) and mischievous track that has a pounding main riff that’s catchy as all hell (and as any other track on this record) and it has the soul of a road song – it’s all about the gravel, traversing the distance with the Devil riding shotgun. Then, it’s farewell time, as the album ends with the pure-blood rock track, “What Good is a Rock Without a Roll?” What can I really say about a track that features such lines as “eat thunder, shit lightning”? It’s a hard rock song about rocking out, and it achieves being one sick track almost effortlessly.

NOW, THE LONG (of it was above, but still, the saying goes) AND SHORT OF IT IS, Black Spiders? Easily one of the best bands out there. There is little doubt that “Sons of the North” does what it sets out to do almost without breaking a sweat – bring you hard, riffin’ ragin’, pounding-pulse, grooving-guitar, blazing-solo rock. The band keeps up a good, even pace and keep you focused by switching it up so that every song brings something fresh to the table. The songs flow well, the album, even better and I simply can’t find anything at all wrong with this album (except perhaps that the second track kinda lowers the tempo a little too much, after the breathless start.) It’s a milestone. Get it while it’s still hot, because chances are, there’s more of this coming. 9.5/10, easy.


NOTE: Yes, the second song actually is about the band Kiss trying to kill Black Spiders, and it seems to imply that Ace Frehley had nothing to do with it – Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley were the architects of that attempted murder. I don’t know, and I’m too scared to ask if Ace left the band because he was scared his band mates were trying to kill Black Spiders.

Review Written By Sarp Esin

Black Spiders @ Myspace
Black Spiders.Bigcartel.Com

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