Wednesday, 11 March 2015

BLACK RAINBOWS - Hawkdope (Album Review)

If you don't know by know, then 'Hawkdope' should cement things for you: Black Rainbows are one of the best rock bands in the world. The consistently high level of artistry of the band's output over the course of eight years, four albums, one E.P. and a highly regarded 4-way split album is staggering. I wrote about them once before, for the 'Holy Moon' E.P. which you can find at this location, but I'm not sure I drove the above point home enough in that one. This is the band's first full-length album since 2011's 'Supermuthafuzzalicious!!' and in that time some things have changed and some have stayed the same. Let's get into it ...

I caught on to Black Rainbows very early on in my discover of the underground stoner rock world. Before facebook, before the Paranoid blog, way back when I was deep down the wormhole of youtube suggested video links. I heard a song off of the band's 2010 album 'Carmina Diabola' and it blew my tiny, insignificant mind. When I finally tracked the album down I wasn't disappointed, it was a masterpiece. It's just a collection of 10 straight forward scorchers with some proggy elements. The same can be said of the above-mentioned follow-up from 2011. I saw 2013's 'Holy Moon' EP as somewhat of a departure. The band was spreading their psychedelic wings to a certain extent, with songs like "Chakra Temple" and the title track, it was an experimental effort. The band has always had a touch of Hawkwind in them, but I don't think anybody could have expected the "sound paintings" sections found on the EP.

'Hawkdope' is classic Black Rainbows, but they've retained more than just a hint of those psychedelic tendencies to stay true to their label name (Heavy Psych Sounds). For the most part, the new album is stuffed full with head-down rockers, but room is made for smoke-blown sections and ripping solos. This is Black Rainbows gone cosmic, but staying within the lines of their established boundaries. The Italian trio subtly deviates from the formula here, musically and structurally and the result is a more dynamic album. Though the pausey rhythms that characterized earlier albums have largely been jettisoned here, the stripped down approach acts as a stage II rocket, propelling the band into the cosmos. Musical boundaries have been eliminated, this is the band's apotheosis. Black Rainbows can go anywhere from this point, the nine-minute title track is proof of that.

'Hawkdope' will be released this Saturday, March 14 by Heavy Psych Sounds, but you can stream the entire album right now over at The Obelisk website.

Rating: «««« / 5

Black Rainbows on facebook
Heavy Psych Sounds on facebook


2 comments:

  1. Dude Carmina Diabola was my first Black Rainbows too. At first I thought it was totally average but then it took over my brain and I saw the light. Gabrielle is a rock god. Any Black Rainbows album is as high quality rock as it gets, but they do get better with each release. Just had to reach out to you upon seeing you have a similar respext for the Black Rainbows as I do. Hawkdope is dope!

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    1. Yeah, Carmina Diabola has still got to be one of my top 10 stoner albums. Also, cool username ;)

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