Thursday, September 3, 2015
blackQueen – The Directress
It depends on the creator to combine what has gone before, what is available to use, and what is only in the imagination of that creator, into something that we have not heard before. It is a true pleasure when we find music that brings a new combination of things to light. This album is one of those true pleasures.
Pete Jay, the mastermind of blackQueen uses doom, black, and death metal, along with a very educated dose of movie dialogue, to bring to life “The Directress”. I can honestly say that it has been at least a couple of years since I have heard a release as unique as this. All of the different styles of metal flow together so seamlessly, and the inclusion of the clips of dialogue is done so well that it feels as though it is an integral part of each song, not just something that was tagged on as an afterthought. The band itself is a rotating cast of characters from all up and down the West coast, and he has definitely brought all of the right players together. I can try to tell you what it sounds like, but you really need to hear it. Seriously, if you were to only buy one metal release for the remainder of the year, this is the one.
As a fan of horror movies, this album feels very cinematic to me, almost as though it could be used as a soundtrack to one of those awesome Italian horror films from the 70's. Mr. Jay is the writer and director of “BabeGhostWitch”, 14 plus minutes of short film in the giallo style of horror films, and I'm not saying that the film and this album are connected, but they both certainly feel as though they are from the same source. If you are a fan of horror as well, I would highly recommend looking up this short film on Youtube.
One of my favorite tracks on the album is the opener, “The Olde Religion”. It is a track that sets the tone for the entire album, it sets the mood nicely, and it is a great bit of death-y black metal. I also have a soft spot in my blackened heart for “The Names of Snakes”, which has a nice little bit of dialogue about how names that start with “S” are the snake names. The song somehow manages to be brutal but yet quite the rocker at the same time. One of the great tricks of this album is the balance that it achieves between music that can be very brutal and pummeling and listenability. Let's face it, many black and death metal albums just blast through the songs and when you have finished listening, its hard to remember which song was which, and how anything really sounded different from anything else. No such worries here, the songwriting and performances are handled very deftly, and it never feels as though the purpose of the song is just to beat you up, but rather that there is a story to be told and the decision was made that this genre was the best way to tell it. I also really dig “Forever Daggers”, which is a change of pace and feels a little punky and thrashy.
It is a difficult task to create an album that has a unique and definite tone, to create an album that has something to say. This is one of the albums that succeeds incredibly well in doing just that. Major kudos to blackQueen for forging their own voice in an ever-crowded genre and creating an album that stands head and shoulders above anything I've heard in a long time.