Thursday 7 August 2014

Black Moth - Condemned To Hope (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: Sept 15th 2014
Label: New Heavy Sounds

Condemned To Hope - track listing:

01) Tumbleweave
02) Set Yourself Alight
03) Looner
04) The Undead King of Rock ‘n’ Roll
05) The Last Maze
06) White Lies
07) Red Ink
08) Stinkhorn
09) Room 13
10) Slumber With The Worm
11) Condemned To Hope


Formed in Leeds in 2010, BLACK MOTH have quickly established themselves as one of the most exciting underground acts in the UK. Fronted by magnetic vocalist Harriet Bevan, this young and talented quintet was defined as "Electric Wizard meeting Band Of Skulls in a dungeon" by Terrorizer. The release in 2012 of their fiery debut record "The Killing Jar" - a grunge-goth odyssey sprinkled with a variety of influences going from Sabbath to the Melvins, The Stooges to L7 - and their mesmerizing on-stage presence, led them to share the stages with the likes of Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats, Red Fang or Turbowolf. They were also invited to play great festivals such as Desertfest London, Download Festival or Reading festival.

BLACK MOTH's long-awaited second full-length was produced by Jim Sclavunos (Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, The Cramps, Grinderman) and recorded by legendary Leeds engineer Andy Hawkins. "Condemned To Hope" is an album of fearsome drive and clandestine twists, skilfully sidestepping the cliché and heavy-handedness of delivery that often seems fit to destroy contemporary heavy rock 'n' roll from the inside out.

The artwork for "Condemned To Hope » was entirely created by prog art legend ROGER DEAN. Designer, architect and artist, Roger Dean's iconic work for Yes, Uriah Heep, Budgie, countless Vertigo sleeves and much more, has almost come to define 70’s sleeve art. His work may be associated with rock and progressive rock in particular, but here, Roger goes over to the dark side, moving away from the more fantastical vistas that feature in much of his paintings.

Band Members

Harriet Bevan - Vocals
Jim Swainston - Guitar
Nico Carew - Guitar
Dave Vachon - Bass
Dom McCready – Drums


Black Moth return with their eagerly awaited 2nd album – Condemned To Hope. Condemned To Hope plays out like a stirring and hard-hitting critique of Modern Day Life as the albums lyrics contain dark and twisted biting social commentary. Especially on tracks - Tumbleweave, Set Yourself Alight and Loner. These tracks prove that Condemned To Hope is a darker and stranger experience than their debut album. Though to be fair, Harriet did warn us to expect this when I interviewed Harriet recently.

Some people may find the album very hard to identify with, as some of the songs have a unique distinct British quality and identity to them. Black Moth add elements of British based life to their music. Please do not let that put you off as Black Moth wisely explore other areas of life that everyone can identify with. Harriet’s spellbinding and commanding vocals are superbly matched against the intense riffs that instantly draw you in to keep you entertained from start to finish.

The album has a great sense of humour though its one of dark jet-black humour that Harriett wickedly and slyly sings through. Are Black Moth having fun on this album? - Surely not? - Though you cant deny the evidence with tracks - Red Ink and Room 13 - As Black Moth once again combine heavy sounding Doom/Stoner Metal riffs with funny as heck intelligent lyrics which will leave some listeners shocked. As the subject matter for Red Ink is of an adult nature. Well done – Black Moth. You managed even to shock me a bit on that track. I almost forgot to mention the album is dripping in dark satanic fuzz which gives the album extra layers of volume to drown your soul with.

The production on the album is fantastic through out as it manages to bring Black Moths dark twisted vision to life for everyone to fully witness. It may take a few listens to fully understand the album as Black Moth have created a thought provoking and challenging album indeed. Condemned To Hope is a surreal, weird, dark and twisted musical odyssey that Black Moth should rightly be proud of. Watch out folks – Black Moth are ready for Occult Rock Domination and on this form who is going to stand in their way.

Thanks to Claire at Purple Sage PR. Condemned To Hope will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl from New Heavy Sounds from Sept 15th 2014.

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Written by Steve Howe