Tuesday, October 1, 2013

REVIEW: BLACKOUT - WE ARE HERE


I recently had the privilege of seeing Brooklyn’s own psychedelic doom trio Blackout open for Naam and Radkey over at Saint Vitus, and was thrilled to see they have an album coming out soon. While I’m 90% sure their moniker refers to a state of devastating intoxication, on the off-chance they refer to the sunlight-blocking curtains I had to mention that I absolutely approve. As a former insomniac who lived on a vampire’s sleeping schedule for over two years, blackout curtains are my second favorite invention (following the machines that press gummy candies into delightful shapes).

Rumbling into town with the transcendental “Indian,” Blackout remind me a bit of YOB or Acid King in spirit, or Windhand if they were fried in leftover burger grease and liquid PCP. Blackout’s brand of doom is less inclined to conjure woodland spirits with majestic occult hymns than it is to drink a keg of Brooklyn Lager in fifteen minutes flat and turn the empty barrel into an oaky bong. A dirty rock’n’roll energy swaggers into the fray about halfway through “Amnesia,” and that’s where the album really hits its rebellious stride. This raucous attitude is especially prevalent on “Columbus,” which sounds like a severely tranquilized convergence of Melvins and Sleep’s Holy Mountain, and the superb closer “Seven.” The rhythms are occasionally a little stiff, but when they kick into mid-tempo there’s a noticeable increase in comfort and confidence. Blackout may be massively informed by the crunchiest forms of doom, but at its smoky core it’s a rock record that lights blunts over desert campfires, guzzles rye whiskey from a motorcycle gas tank, and happens to be really fucking heavy.

The previously mentioned “Seven” is a 9+ minute rocking slog through a quagmire of peyote-infused swamp water. The track is a hydroponic garden of groovy, burly riffs that take a break from smashing bar stools in pub fights for a trippy interlude. They end the song chewing on a lean, mean riff for a solid three minutes, because it’s god damn tasty enough to warrant those three minutes. While there are some droning qualities to We Are Here, it’s explored organically and never feels tedious.

The band’s performances are solid, avoiding distracting technicality in favor of letting the song’s breathe and prowl on their own. From Christian Gordy’s vocals that feel like a sonic projection of an out-of-body experience, to Taryn Waldman’s steady, dependable percussion, to Justin Sherrell’s enormous bass tone, Blackout are definitely more focused on crafting a gigantic sound than technical wizardry. To me, that’s how doom should be: Creating music so massive you can’t fathom its source. I’ll definitely pay to see Blackout play again, and after you creeps give We Are Here a listen I hope you’ll be there headbanging next to me with a brew in hand.

Listen to 3 of the 6 songs off We Are Here over at Bandcamp at this very moment, and see how the healing powers of rock’n’roll turn your day from dogshit to delightfulfuntimebestdayever:  http://blackout666.bandcamp.com/

And keep up to date with upcoming shows and merch over on their Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/BlackoutNYC

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