Saturday 19 September 2015

BLACKWATER - Beyond The Swamp (Album Review)

Release date: September 01st 2015. Label: Pink Tank Records. Formats: DD/Vinyl

Beyond The Swamp: Tracklisting

1.Odescent 06:27
2.Throne of Skulls 04:43
3.Drink Up 02:28
4.666-Pack 04:24
5.43 04:42
6.Jolly Green Giants 07:26
7.Iron Cobra 04:00
8.Interlude 02:43
9.Killing Yourself To Live 06:02
10.Crooked Edge 05:39
11.Mountain 06:24
12.The Barbarian 05:31

Band Members:

Nick Koeth - Rhythm Guitar, Lead Singer
Bryan Masterson - Bass
Andy Johnson - Drums


BlackWater’s debut album – Beyond The Swamp – is a murky psychedelic wonder of noisy grunge laiden Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal riffs with the band creating one of the most fuzzed up and hugely enjoyable experiences you will hear in a long time. BlackWater have created an album packed full of riffs that you can listen to this over and over again without ever being bored.

Opening track – Odescent – is an instrumental psych stoner metal track with the band giving you a brief glimpse on what to expect. Fuzzy lo-fi psych doomy riffs played against a harder metal background. The song crackles with excitement as BlackWater blend different sounds for a refreshing style of Stoner Metal. The drumming is perhaps the best thing about this song with the riffs being built around Andy's superb drumming.

Second track – Throne Of Skulls – opens with a lo-fi grungy doom/stoner metal that fans of Wo Fat will enjoy. As this song has that swampedelic attitude that Wo Fat are masters of. The vocals are clean, grizzled and one that has a twinge of NOLA style theatrics to them. It’s a heavy and almost volatile sound with BlackWater venturing into the world of Psychedelia. The riffs are fast-paced through out and it takes the listener for an exciting ride.

Third track – Drink Up – is more of a bass heavy bluesy stoner rock affair that gives BlackWater the chance to party and have some fun. It’s quite a simple track compared to the other songs on the album but it still has a lot of great riffs for you to rock out to especially if you dig Motorhead.

Fourth track – 666-Pack – Yeah, I know, great title. It’s a full on Stoner Metal riff-fest with BlackWater adding a doomier vibe near the middle of the song as the riffs become slightly creepier, heavier and very trippy. You have to admire BlackWater’s talent for changing the entire mood of the album at any second as they do on this song. The production may hamper the riffs from time to time but BlackWater overcome that with impressive guitar solos, drumming and bleak vocals.

Fifth track – 43 – sees band opt for a direct approach where the music is concerned as BlackWater combine blues rock, stoner, prog rock and elements of classic 70s stadium rock for one of the albums standout tracks. It’s purely instrumental so you can sit back and relax with the heavy riffage being played on your speakers. The dual guitars offer something different on the album and the song can be very loud at times.

Sixth track – Jolly Green Giants – is my fave track on the album as it’s where BlackWater impressed me the most with their crazed and distorted style of stoner metal madness. It’s purely instrumental for the first few minutes before the vocals come into play. Blues, Stoner, Psych, Doom and Distorted Fuzz combine for the albums longest tracks at 7:30 mins. It’s quite progressive at times as BlackWater don’t settle for one set sound but a mix of different genres that any serious Hard Rock/Metal fan will admire.

I’m not going to review the 2nd half of the album as there are 6 more tracks for BlackWater to impress you with. Other tracks to check out are: Iron Cobra, Crooked Edge and The Barbarian are the main standouts on the 2nd half of the album with BlackWater creating even more crazed, trippy stoner metal anthems for you to enjoy. There is one track – Interlude - that I thought was nothing but album filler but it’s an almost dream-like sonic, trippy progressive rock odyssey that I couldn’t get enough of. I was disappointed that it ended as I could have listened to the band playing this style of music all day.

The only downside of the album is the production on the album can be hit and miss at times. Most of the times it sounds superb but there are a few moments where the sound could of done with more volume towards the end of the album. Other than that, Beyond The Swamp is an excellent album that you’ll find very hard to resist. BlackWater is a band who demands your attention. Check this album out now.

Words by Steve Howe