Review & Lyric Video Premiere: Eternal Black, Bleed the Days

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Reviews on August 1st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

eternal-black-bleed-the-days

[Click play above to see the premiere of the lyric video for the title-track of Eternal Black’s Bleed the Days. Album is out Aug. 8.]

Doom prevails in gritty fashion on Bleed the Days, the seven-track debut long-player from New York trio Eternal Black. Self-released through their own Obsidian Sky Records in a digipak that includes a note on its back cover to pay attention to the lyrics and those printed on its inside glossy panels, it is a grimly cast 46 minutes brimming with downer intent as led by the churning-concrete riffing of guitarist/vocalist Ken Wohlrob (also a published novelist and clearly someone for whom words matter) and with significant reinforcement provided by bassist Hal Miller and drummer Joe Wood — the latter also of long-running Long Island rockers Borgo Pass and a former bandmate of mine twice over. Because I consider him among the finest examples of a human being I’ve ever encountered, I’ll note a decided bias on my part in favor of his work here and elsewhere, so if that’s the grain of salt with which you need to take this review, so be it. I won’t fight you.

Either way, Eternal Black‘s full-length ode to downcast nodder traditionalism, recorded and mixed by Joe Kelly and Kol Marshall with mastering by Mos Generator‘s Tony Reed, follows their 2015 self-titled EP/demo (review here) and received a substantial preview earlier this year on the digital offering Live at WFMU (review here), recorded at that venerable open-format radio station in Jersey City, New Jersey, but makes its primary impression in the uniformity of its mood such that even the three-minute centerpiece interlude “Into Nothing” ties to the rest of its surroundings in speaking to the overarching theme of death and the mythology thereof, despite being instrumental. They are nothing if not focused.

But as the saying goes, if you can’t handle brain-crushing singularity of purpose, doom probably isn’t for you, and whether it’s the post-Wino riffing on opener “The Lost, the Forgotten, and the Undying” or second cut “Snake Oil and Coffin Nails,” which is led off by Miller‘s bass in the spirit perhaps of The Hidden Hand circa Mother Teacher Destroyer and shifts into faster gallop in its midsection with a highlight guitar lead, or a slower piece like the lumbering “Stained Eyes on a Setting Sun” (premiered here), Eternal Black do bring a sense of character and a developing sonic persona to the tenets of the style. Wohlrob‘s vocal delivery is a gruff and dudely semi-growl suited to tying the songs together and his lyrics — as one has been advised to regard — grow increasingly vivid as the tracklisting progresses into “Stained Eyes on a Setting Sun,” “Bleed the Days” itself and 11-minute closer “All Gods Fall,” pulling references from Biblical and other Inferno-y sources concerning death.

eternal black photo shane gardner

It’s arguable six of the seven inclusions on Bleed the Days deal directly with the motif — see also: the entirety of Western culture and the human condition — whether it’s the interaction of death and belief on “Snake Oil and Coffin Nails” and “All Gods Fall” or the grim picture-painting of “The Lost, the Forgotten, and the Undying,” “Sea of Graves,” “Into Nothing,” “Stained Eyes on a Setting Sun,” and “Bleed the Days,” but there’s also an underlying use of water imagery. The opener speaks of a ballast of the dead, snake oil is “flooding the plains,” it’s a “Sea of Graves,” bodies are thrown into the sea in “Stained Eyes on a Setting Sun,” walls of rain unleash a river in the title-track, and flames rain down and oceans reabsorb in the finale. Again, that’s six of six tracks with words in them. One can’t help but wonder if that was a purposeful aesthetic choice in the composition of the material or simply a fitting representation of the abyss. In any case, like Wohlrob‘s vocals, the tonal density of his guitar and Miller‘s low end and the ultra-solid push of Wood‘s drums, it is another aspect of Bleed the Days that serves to tie the songs together.

Taking into account Bleed the Days as Eternal Black‘s debut, the album becomes even more impressive in its establishment of theme and aesthetic — well earning the amount of purple on its Joshua M. Wilkinson cover art — and when given repeat listens, further nuance of intent gradually unveils itself, whether it’s the airy flourish of guitar layering buried in the second half of “All Gods Fall” or the force with which the overall trajectory of the trio’s procession leads them to that closer. That shift takes place between the songs themselves, which seem to grow slower from “The Lost, the Forgotten, and the Undying” onward, but “Into Nothing” becomes a crucial divide between the first three cuts and the latter three that follow, which cast a plodding and weighted mire that, even when it picks up a bit in terms of tempo in the title-track, remains enduringly bleak.

Thus “All Gods Fall” can be read as a moment of arrival for Eternal Black and their audience alike, and it meets that task ably in summarizing the atmosphere of what’s come before it, showcasing an avenue for potential forward growth on the part of the band and providing a landing point for the consistently downward push that brings it on. Like the stated subject of death, “All Gods Fall” feels inevitable by the time it hits, and its final lines, “Man faces his eternity/Standing alone,” encapsulate the perspective of Bleed the Days as a whole. There could hardly be a more fitting end for an album that stands so willfully in doomed gruel, and as “All Gods Fall” marches to its fading finish, the sound of crashing waves would seem to provide an answer as to the corresponding watery elements that so much of the material highlighted previously.

I don’t know if I’d call Bleed the Days a concept album in terms of a singular narrative playing out, but neither would I be surprised if Eternal Black went that route sometime in the future, as there is a decided interest in storytelling here, and pivotally, they back that with quality songwriting that’s no less a foundation than the roll in Wood‘s drums. They’ve left themselves room to grow in terms of branching out arrangements and style, but as doom for doomers by doomers, Eternal Black‘s first album brings a host of depressive delights.

Eternal Black, Bleed the Days (2017)

Eternal Black website

Eternal Black on Bandcamp

Eternal Black on Thee Facebooks

Eternal Black on Instagram

Eternal Black on Soundcloud

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audiObelisk Transmission 062

Posted in Podcasts on July 25th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk podcast 62

Click Here to Download

 

It’s easy when you’re putting one of these things together to get locked into a headspace and all of a sudden everything you’re putting next to each other kind of sounds the same, kind of blurs together. I’m immensely pleased to say that’s not at all what happened this time around. The sounds throughout vary from heavy psych to rock to proggy jams to Blaak Heat who are on their own wavelength entirely to doom and space rock and so on. It flows though. I’m really happy with how it flows.

That includes the second hour, which has a couple different vibes as opposed to just the usual all-psych head-trip. Also, as you make your way through, keep in mind that a lot of this stuff is coming from debut albums. Moon Rats, Kabbalah, Eternal Black, Mindkult, The Raynbow, Bees Made Honey in the Vein Tree. Hell, Steak’s track is their second album, and Youngblood Supercult too, so yeah, there’s a lot of fresh stuff included from newer bands. I didn’t come into it with a plan at all. This is just how it worked out, which of course is more fun anyway.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

Track details follow:

First Hour:

0:00:00 Moon Rats, “Highway Lord” from Highway Lord
0:03:36 Youngblood Supercult, “The Hot Breath of God” from The Great American Death Rattle
0:07:31 Kabbalah, “Phantasmal Planetoid” from Spectral Ascent
0:12:11 Wretch, “The Wretch” from Bastards Born
0:20:25 Steak, “Creeper” from No God to Save
0:24:28 Eternal Black, “Stained Eyes on a Setting Sun” from Bleed the Days
0:31:44 Mindkult, “Howling Witch” from Lucifer’s Dream
0:36:51 Shooting Guns, “Flavour Country” from Flavour Country
0:45:04 Endless Boogie, “Vibe Killer” from Vibe Killer
0:53:22 Blaak Heat, “Marr El Kallam” from The Arabian Fuzz 7”
0:57:55 The Grand Astoria, “The Sleeper Awakes” from The Fuzz of Destiny

Second Hour:

1:02:45 Eggnogg, “Overture / Wild Goose Chase” from Rituals in Transfigured Time – Prologue
1:16:06 Elara, “Harmonia” from Deli Bal
1:31:41 Bees Made Honey in the Vein Tree, “Sail Away I” from Medicine
1:45:50 The Raynbow, “Changes” from The Cosmic Adventure

Total running time: 2:01:51

 

Thank you for listening.

Download audiObelisk Transmission 062

 

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Eternal Black Announce Bleed the Days Due Aug. 8; Premiere “Stained Eyes on a Setting Sun”

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on July 19th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

eternal black photo shane gardner

Go ahead and click play on the Eternal Black track premiere at the bottom of this post and then come back up and read the rest of this. Got it? Okay cool. Now that you’re digging into the lumbering weight of ‘Stained Eyes on a Setting Sun,’ I feel like we can really get down to business. The gruff Brooklynite doom metallers are today announcing that in less than a month’s time — Aug. 8 is the date and preorders are up through their Bandcamp — they’ll make their full-length debut with Bleed the Days.

I’m not gonna be coy here. I’ve heard the record and it’s a banger. Like, someone’s-gonna-pick-it-up-and-put-out-vinyl kind of banger. Playing to classic-minded nod, Eternal Black roll out riff after riff of dead-on, no-frills-needed doom. They’ve got seven tracks of it loaded up and ready to move, and as they build from the accomplishments of their 2015 self-titled EP (review here) and pay off the preview of new material they gave on earlier-2017’s Live at WFMU (discussed here), one would be hard pressed to find a less pretentious execution, and especially as it’s their debut, Bleed the Days shows the Maryland Doom Fest veterans as a band looking to make their mark in the sphere of the East Coast underground.

I’ll have more to come as we get closer to the Aug. 8 release, but for now, click play again and give “Stained Eyes on a Setting Sun” another listen as a portend of good things on the way, and dig into the album announcement as sent down the PR wire. You’re going to want to familiarize:

eternal-black-bleed-the-days

Eternal Black to Release Debut Full-Length Album ‘Bleed the Days’ on August 8

Premieres New Track “Stained Eyes On A Setting Sun”

Brooklyn-based doom band ETERNAL BLACK will unleash their debut full-length album, ?Bleed the Days, on August 8th, 2017. In anticipation of the album’s release, a new track, “Stained Eyes On A Setting Sun” will be available for streaming via SoundCloud and Bandcamp.

Bleed the Days is the band’s third release, following their 2015 self-titled EP and a live recording from 2017, ?Live at WFMU? . According to the band, “Sonically, we were aiming for somewhere between Black Sabbath’s ?Master of Reality and The Obsessed’s ?Lunar Womb. We wanted the album to be an obvious step forward in the progression of our sound. Darker and heavier than anything you’ve heard from us before, with the grit of old school Doom.”

Eternal Black again worked with Joe Kelly and Kol Marshall (Mercyful Fate, King Diamond, Ministry), who produced and mixed the album. It was mastered by none other than Tony Reed of Mos Generator. Joshua M. Wilkinson of The Company (Curse the Son, Doctor Doom, Keef Mountain) designed the cover and album art.

Bleed the Days will be released on August 8th, 2017 on CD and digital formats. Preorders can be placed via ?Eternal Black’s Bandcamp page?. A double-LP vinyl version with be available in Fall 2017 with limited edition variations.

Formed in late 2014, Eternal Black is made up of Joe Wood on drums (Borgo Pass), Hal Miller on bass, and Ken Wohlrob on guitar and vocals. The group came together out of a desire to create dark songs driven by fuzz-drenched riffs and old-school heavy grooves.

Bleed the Days tracklisting:
1. The Lost, The Forgotten, and The Undying
2. Snake Oil and Coffin Nails
3. Sea of Graves
4. Into Nothing
5. Stained Eyes on a Setting Sun
6. Bleed The Days
7. All Gods Fall

Eternal Black live:
JUL 20 Eternal Black, Curse the Son, Clouds Taste Satanic, Leeds Point
Lucky 13 Saloon New York, NY

AUG 5 Eternal Black, Reign of Zaius, Goat Wizard, & Begotten
Arlene’s Grocery New York, NY

SEP 23 Eternal Black, Thunderbird Divine, Goat Wizard, & King Bison
Century Philadelphia, PA

OCT 7 NY Invades MD! w/ CLOVER/CLOUDS TASTE SATANIC/ETERNAL BLACK/FAITH IN JANE
Guido’s Speakeasy Frederick, MD

http://eternalblackdoom.com
https://eternalblack.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/blackhanddoom
https://instagram.com/eternalblackdoom/
https://soundcloud.com/eternalblackdoom

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