Universally-bearded Allston, Massachusetts outfit Black Thai have posted their first self-released demo for free download through their website. The demo, available as 320kbps MP3s (a band after my own heart – down with digital compression), holds about a 7” worth of material, just two songs, but nonetheless gives a readable impression of the band’s mission at least as it was in their beginnings, before replacing drummer Kyle Rasmussen with Roadsaw’s Jeremy Hemond, who also happens to play in Cortez with Black Thai founding guitarist Scotty Fuse.
Fuse gives a more riffingly metallic bent here than he does with Cortez, but it’s a change you really have to listen to hear. That is, if the six-stringer found himself having to pull double-duty at a show the two bands were playing together, he wouldn’t have to feel awkward because one band was so out of place sonically with the other. Still, with different heads involved in each band — vocalist/guitarist Jim Healey (We’re all Gonna Die) being a central departing factor, but bassist Cory Cocomazzi also having a style all his own — they’re never going to sound exactly the same. Nonetheless, Black Thai play grooving riff-centered stoner metal exclusively (anyone who gets the Emperor reference feel free to pat themselves on the back) and both “The Ladder” and “Satan’s Toolshed” get down to business with some righteous heaviosity, owing some of their crunch to the Massachusetts scene of the ‘90s – let’s namecheck Only Living Witness for good measure – but keeping things in stoner line by nodding at Kyuss’ “Asteroid” from Welcome to Sky Valley with the opening of “Satan’s Toolshed.”
Once the vocals come in on that track, it proves positively infectious, with Healey alternating between single-layer and double-tracked vocals that only add to the song’s overarching mid-paced groove. It’s slower and longer than the preceding cut and thus is lent a weightier feel, but Black Thai keep their approach consistent across both songs on the demo. But man, when Healey comes in with “I don’t want to mess around with your verses/They seem more like curses,” he’s got a bit of the mad preacher in him, and it works to tremendous effect. “All the happiness that’s promised in churches/We just don’t deserve it,” begins the next verse, and fuck yeah, I’m hooked. Sign me up for whatever religion this dude is selling.
Church of the Riff? Probably.
Fuse checks in with a killer solo in “Satan’s Toolshed” as well, and though it’s easy to see that track outshining “The Ladder,” the demonstrative, metal-heavy atmosphere that song ignites is palpable throughout and the second track wouldn’t be half as effective if it didn’t have the first in front of it. Healey’s vocals interplay once more with single/double-tracking, but show more of a range on the opener, and blend excellently with the song’s forceful groove. My point: don’t sell the first song short just because the second happens to kick so much ass. Both have plenty to offer the discerning listener looking for a bit of aggression with their stonerism.
I know Black Thai have recorded since this, but have no news as to when that material might surface. In the meantime, as it’s being given away free of charge through their website, you can’t really lose by taking the time to check them out before they get their new stuff out and you’re already behind the times. Consider this a warning not to miss it.
Tags: Allston, Black Thai, Massachusetts, Unsigned bands