Sunday, 26 July 2015

Black Space Riders - 'Refugeeum' (Album Review)


‘All in all, “Refugeeum” is an album of quality, but it’s the addictive elements that will either make or break the listening experience. Either the addiction will hit home, bringing the listener back for another hit, or scare them away by the fourth track. The choice is yours.’


Album Type: Full-Length
Date Released: 24/7/2015
Label: Self Released/Cargo Records

‘Refugeeum’CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. Vortex Sun (8:03)
2. Universal Bloodlines (4:27)
3. Born a Lion (Homeless) (3:46)
4. The Lure (Come with us) (4:03)
5. Run to the Plains (10:50)
6. Curtains of Death (8:21)
7. Melek's Lament (Yazidi Tears) (6:06)
8. Walking Shades (4:33)
9. Ritual of Inner Strength (9:27)

Black Space Riders is:

JE | lead vocals, guitars, organ, beats
SEB | lead vocals
C.RIP | drums, percussion
SLI | guitars
SAQ | bass guitar
HEVO | additional bass guitar

Review:

Since 2008, there has been a German quintet drifting in and out of focus of the Hubble Telescope. They fly amongst the planets under a flag that reads Black Space Riders, using a battle cry named "Refugeeum"" that is strong enough to pierce through the vacuum that is the cosmos. Led by the band’s sure-footed vocal compass, Black Space Riders push their space-rock far and wide with a clear purpose to conquer. The steady, choppy guitars played to the simple time keeping of the rhythm section combines to make affable melodies and an impressively large sound.

What’s most remarkable on “Refugeeum” is how addictive it is and this lies in the simplicity of it all. Leaving space in the songs is key for Black Space Riders, allowing for an expanded arrangement. So even though the lead melody in a song like “Born a Lion” is a mere four notes, there’s room to build upon and expand the song. These building blocks are primarily found in the vocals, be it the back and forth of “The Lure” or the bellowing found in “Curtain of Death.” Perhaps as anticipated, this leads to sing-a-longs...whether you want to or not. So yes, this coin has a flip side, and that is that the melodies aren’t spectacular and have the potential to get played out, almost to the extent of annoyance.

But don’t sell these guys short. They know what they have in tow and certainly in Germany, there are enough people out there who will eat this goth, space, stoner metal up. “Refugeeum” starts by pulling in the listener with an airy chant that slowly takes form as a strong opener. Obviously the cut that they spent a great deal of time working out is “Run to the Plains,” which serves well as the album’s centerpiece. Though the verses get dangerously close to a dance song, the band somehow makes it work. Once the chorus lands and the distortion pedals have been hit, Black Space Riders take on a whole new direction, one that comes back in the album’s two closing tracks. “Walking Shades” shows that the band can succeed at making their music a little bit more complex and closer “Ritual of Inner Strength” will speak to the Pink Floyd fans of the eighties.

All in all, “Refugeeum” is an album of quality, but it’s the addictive elements that will either make or break the listening experience. Either the addiction will hit home, bringing the listener back for another hit, or scare them away by the fourth track. The choice is yours.

Words by: Victor van Ommen

‘Refugeeum’ is available here

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