Saturday, 28 November 2015

Pinkish Black - "Bottom of the Morning" (Album Review)

By: James Harris

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 30/10/2015
Label: Relapse Records



Cinematic without sinking to schlock or gimmick, this is music that does more than carry a tune - it builds a scene, and that scene is enveloped in fog, where steel-wielding Rippers and ephemeral neon futurists stalk and hunt each other all night, every night.

“Bottom of the Morning” CD//DD//LP rack listing:

1. Brown Rainbow
2. Special Dark
3. I’m All Gone
4. Burn My Body
5. Everything Must Go
6. Bottom of the Morning
7. The Master Is Away

Pinkish Black is:

Daron Beck | vocals, keyboards, synthesizers, mellotron
Jon Teague | drums, synthesizers

The Review:

A blood-spattered Ennio Morricone begins writing suicidal soundtracks - multiple-camera-angled Argento-esque odes to the end presided over by a several-years-dead Ian Curtis, and we have started the process of understanding the immensity of what Ft. Worth duo Pinkish Black bring to the altar.  The highly anticipated follow-up to 2013's “Razed to the Ground” takes their Lynchian noir-sludge and puts a funeral-home suit on it, expanding from horror soundtrack to the soundtrack of future horror. The record stalks and sulks, pulses with ghoulish swagger in the vein of Nick Cave'sMurder Ballads” or Goblin's most nightmarish soundtrack work. This band makes heavy with seemingly every ingredient but metal, and “Bottom of the Morning” is as abrasive and ironclad as it is slick, melodic, strange and unusual, it’s horror-villain-sexy.

Vocalist Daron Beck by turn, chants, wails, whines, and howls over tightly organized patterns of barely-secure warbling almost-chaos, nearly-noise courtesy of his and drummer Jon Teague's synthesized contributions. His apocalyptic crooning amplifies the strangeness; the eerie comfort with which PB blur genre boundaries while Teague wonderfully blends the machinic propulsion of industrial metal with a lo-fi jazzy organic vibe, a combination that underscores their whole sound. The band's ability to keep humour amid darkness (attested to in various interviews, not to mention the morbid and unfortunate tale of their origin) seems to be a key component of their ability to transgress so many sonic boundaries and write stunningly beautiful songs even as they "describe how gross and mediocre things are" in the words of Teague. 

The pinnacle of the album, the space-opera gone dirge “Burn my Body” is an intense, nearly soaring, psychedelic view on incredibly harsh and harrowing last-moments, swirling visceral unease seamlessly in with a devastatingly pop sense of melody. At times rendering such elements as krautrock or no-wave through a nearly black metal lense, whilst referencing composers like Badalamenti and John Carpenter or M. Gira. There is something on this record for everyone that likes to be chilled to the bone, from the blackened baroque groove of opener “Brown Rainbow” to the title track's almost sensual creeping from jangly romance to dissonant doom-inflected pomp/stomp. The aura at the end of that tune bleeds over into the album's last track, instrumental “The Master is Away”, with a slowed down lysergic trance-rhythm opening up into a positively uplifting final march. Even when the melody shows depressive teeth, PB continues to defy doom's expectations, pushing further and further into territory as dangerously close to 'majestic' as it is to 'metallic.'

Recorded at the Echo Lab and mastered by legend James Plotkin, the quality of the production and the material bleeds out of this album at every turn, pinkish-black blood that has already twisted several knives into the so-called "identity crisis" of the current metal scene, crossing genres at will, dragging many unwary hesher puritans down dark corridors and blind alleys to be slaughtered by the dulcet tones of this group that openly cop to being more influenced by Popul Vuh or Klaus Schulze than modern extreme metal. Cinematic without sinking to schlock or gimmick, this is music that does more than carry a tune - it builds a scene, and that scene is enveloped in fog, where steel-wielding Rippers and ephemeral neon futurists stalk and hunt each other all night every night. You can catch them in their hometown for a few shows in December, and you can find their old band The Great Old Tyrant's excellent material (that saw a fresh release recently) on their bandcamp now as well.
“Bottom of the Morning” is available here

Band info: bandcamp | facebook

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