Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Black Tundra - S/T (Album Review)

Release date: April 06th 2017. Label: Self Released. Format: DD

Black Tundra – S/T – Tracklisting

1.Before The Fall 06:45

2.Gates of Moss 06:40
3.Black Tundra 05:38
4.Blinded by the Northern Lights 05:19
5.Circling the Dead 04:14
6.No Dawn 07:25


Dave - guitars
Tomek Sikora - guitars
Marcin Skarzyński - bass/voc
Blond - drums


Black Tundra is another upcoming Doom/Sludge Metal band from Poland. Playing a style of music that's familiar to everyone who religiously follows the Doom/Sludge Metal scene. Black Tundra has still managed to create an exciting album full of psychedelic grooves with a touch of Stoner Metal heaviness thrown in for good measure. Their S/T debut album has a delicate balance of heavy as heck riffs and almost hardcore style vocals.

Opening track - Before The Fall - installs a sense of calm with a superbly played post-rock/post-metal style instrumental passage before giving way to a thunderous sludge/stoner riffs with the doom and gloom atmospherics not too far behind. The vocals add an unsettling feel as you can hear influences from a wide range of artists within the doom hemisphere. Black Tundra becomes a more exciting prospect when they slow things down and play a calmer style of atmospheric doom/post-rock riffs. It allows their music to grow naturally whilst still offering moments of heavy stoner/sludge sounds in the background.

Second track - Gates Of Moss - sees Black Tundra play a more distorted fuzz/doomier sound with the riffs being played at a deliberately slow pace. The song is purely instrumental and it's perhaps the most exciting track on the album. As Black Tundra create an exciting style of sludge/post-metal that reminds me of early Pelican at times though the drums are way heavier.

Third track - Black Tundra - is played at a faster pace with the superb vocals from - Marcin - making a welcome appearance with the band playing a stop-start Post-Rock/Post-Metal approach with heavy sludge riffs appearing towards the end of the song.

The whole feel of the album sees the band trying to find the perfect balance of their different sounds against the vocals. For the most part they succeed as this album is superbly put together. I wish the band did include more vocals on some of the songs such as Blinded By The Northern Lights as that feels directly influenced by Pelican. The vocals would have established their sound more and perhaps banish all instances of Pelican being mentioned. Though I gotta admit this song is one of the best tracks on the album especially when Black Tundra inject a more upbeat psychedelic vibe.

The final two tracks - Circling The Dead and No Dawn - sees Black Tundra return to the albums earlier heavier Doom/Sludge Metal sounds as they play heavy psychedelic sounds that leave you wanting more. For a debut album, Black Tundra proves they have some intriguing ideas of their own.

I hope for future releases they trust their instincts more as the album is more exciting when they let go of the shackles in creating their own sound. Overall this is an impressive and well-crafted debut album.

Words by Steve Howe