Black Wail ‘Chromium Homes’ Review: New Jersey metallers concoct a weird and wonderful mix of doom, stoner, psychedelia and classic rock on new EP.
Every once in a while, a band emerges with a sound impossible to fully quantify, defying easy classification by genre.
Such is the case of Black Wail, a New Jersey rock act that combine an impressive amount of metal sub-genres into an intriguing musical stew, mixing sonic elements in irreverent and rewarding ways.
And on their latest release, the six-track EP Chromium Homes (out December 15th on Rhyme and Reason Records), the group conjure a wormhole of sound any adventurous metal fan would be giddy to get sucked up into.
Opener They offers a deep dish of 70’s era Sabbath, topped off with Hammond organ used to great psychedelic effect.
Thee Ghost combines sludge, thrash and prog rock with soulful vocals, an unholy union that pays off in spades, while the title track (a reference to Jersey City industrial waste) is appropriately sludgy, adding Southern Rock dual guitar harmonies and more musical transitions than most bands manage in an entire full-length album.
That’s what makes Chromium Homes such a blast. It’s clear that Black Wail are a jam band at heart, and their Frankenstein stitched together sound is wonderfully unpredictable. Take Dead Man’s Hand, which mixes thrash riffing and screamed vocals with instrumental passages that recall horror scores like Phantasm and Suspiria.
Radioactive Mutation is another hard to classify, yet absolutely badass song that recalls vintage Alice Cooper and Blue Oyster Cult before shifting to New Wave keyboards. Its crazy quilt construction suggests another eclectic New Jersey outfit, Monster Magnet, and I mean that in the best way possible.
Chromium Homes ends on an fittingly oddball outro, a cover of The Beatles’ Norwegian Wood, mutating it from its genteel 60’s psych origins to a bludgeoning doom metal dirge.
2017 has been an absolute beast of a year, making Black Wail’s escapist elements irresistible. If you like your rock fun, weird and full of left turns, Chromium Homes is prime musical real estate for your ears.
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