Saturday 5 July 2014

Black Spring - Demo - Review

Demo cover art

DEMO by Black Spring
Album type; demo
Release: 23rd of June 2014.

Demo track listing:

1. Love is…
2. Hospital Bed
3. Reptiles

Band Members:

Fog – Bass
Col – Guitar
Mark – Vox
Steo – Drums


It was my 23rd birthday three weeks ago. Following a night of guzzling sticky craft beers and staring longingly at a bottle of Kraken rum, I slithered my way into the front seat of the taxi that would be taking me home. Now, while my recollection of these events are blurred and distorted, I do remember the elderly taxi driver and I entered into a conversation about music. Tommy, we’ll call him, loves his Trad music. He’s also been known to crank out the Thin Lizzy when the wife isn’t home, so he told me, the cheeky bastard. Anyway, our journey is brief, but we seem to cover quite a bit of ground in our musical discussion, a discussion that came to an abrupt end when he glanced at my t-shirt and guessed that I enjoy listening to “bad lad music”.

Bad lad music.

Dublin’s four-piece Sludge Hydra, Black Spring, are bad lad music. Though only forming this year, you could easily mistake them for veteran sewer dwellers and amplifier pagans. We are currently living in an age where bands are starting to actually refer to themselves as Sludge, the term itself has become a fashion accessory for some of those bands. For Black Spring, from where I’m standing, the term Sludge is either being used as an L-plate for the moment, or the band are dead set on reopening the sarcophagus of “bad lad music” and letting the poisonous fumes released from it kill the entire crew.

Like a Saturday morning hangover, Black Spring come at you suddenly. There’s no kissing, no foreplay, and certainly no breakfast in bed. Often compared to Nottingham’s Moloch, Black Spring deliver the kind of music that wipes its snots (boogers, for my American friends) on its sleeves, wears its hoodie up, and is constantly looking to score a drug that will turn it into a giant tumor within the space of ten minutes.

With this first demo, Black Spring allows us to peek inside of their world. Their sound is like that of a wall stripped of its paper, back to basics! And because we are the generation that refers incessantly to Sludge, it’s very hard to find new bands that truly encapsulate the sound that comes to mind when it is mentioned. Black Spring have no such problem with regards to definition; they are simply Sludge, they are simply ugly, and they are simple. The music of Black Spring is certainly not an attempt to reinvent the wheel, dare I say it; Black Spring are probably more concerned with breaking the wheel . There may not be anything new on this record, but why should that be a problem? There are far too many ‘Sludge’ bands fiddling around with synthesizers and tambourines, it’s always good to hear something young with the attitude of the old.

Guitars that cough wildly through a rough Southern drawl, drums that send sinister vibrations through the floor. and distressing vocals to wake you up from your Sabbath induced slumber. Black Spring might not be a revelation, but they most certainly are one of the most poisonous, knuckle-dragging bands in Ireland right now.

I fell out of the taxi that night, holding up a fiver to the driver as if I were about to give him his communion wafer, I stumbled around the garden for half an hour and ended up falling asleep in a car.

Bad lad music. Yeah, that’s about right.

Written by Liam Doyle