Monday, 1 May 2017

BLACK HAZE ~ BLACK HAZE ...review


Playing what they describe as "a mixture of fluffy doom and groove laden rock" Germany's Black Haze have, with their mixture of alt/grunge and good old fashioned hard rock and stonerized doom , caused a small ripple of appreciation to reverberate across the murky waters of the doom/stoner & psych scene. The band who were formed in Rostock, Germany in 2014 have just recently released their debut album "Black Haze" via Bandcamp and for a relatively new band its surprisingly good, if not a little bit brilliant!


"Senor Major Mustache" opens Black Haze's account with a juicy up-tempo rocker fuelled by crunching guitar riffage  and pushed by an engine room of big throbbing bass and solid, tight powerful drums. Over this tornado of gritty hard rock bluster and stoner groove are then delivered vocals of equal size and magnitude by front man and occasional second guitarist Danny Borealis whose voice, an instrument in its own right, is richer and deeper than you would usually expect within this genre but has a grittiness of tone and timbre that sits perfectly within the grooves the rest of the band so expertly supply around it.
"Devil's High" enters astride a wall of fuzz then segues into jagged but atmospheric doom tinted stoner groove with the vocalist alternating between smooth low crooning and deep, full on, gritty roaring against a backdrop of intricate rhythmic might and soaring guitar work.
"A King Is Born" sees Black Haze jamming a slightly lysergic groove enhanced by heavily effected guitar colouring over a foundation of subtly shifting rhythmic dynamics mirrored by Borealis' massive vocals.
"Sun" finds the band in a more reflective  mood with Borealis telling of "green deserts" and "praying to Heaven on my knees"  while at the same time supplying an acoustic guitar foundation around which main guitarist Tommy (second name unknown) injects little touches of electric six-string colouring and texture, perfectly backed up by Felix Wagner's liquid bass lines and Benni Koch's intricate and precise percussion. The song slowly builds in tempo and atmosphere reaching a crescendo around the three quarter mark then gently falling away to finish as it started.
"Sixty Lies" comes straight outta the blocks with the guitars laying down a circular hard rock refrain that then shifts into a fractured and slightly sparse groove overlaid with a strong vocals and is underpinned by a superb gnarled Wagner bass line and Koch's slightly Teutonic percussion before gradually moving through the gears and finishing with Borealis'  roared vocal taking it to the close.
"Dreamseller" and "The Dirt" follow, the first a massive hard rocker replete with big vocals, big riffs and bigger rhythms, the second a more laid back. torch-like song enhanced by shifting musical dynamics and elements of  both psych and prog texturing.
"Catch The Ride" closes the album and begins with Tommy laying down a U2-like guitar motif over which the vocalist wordlessly croons before moving into more alt/grunge territory on a low key, almost mainstream rock groove. with the frontmen singing of "promises I don't wanna break". Although not as heavy or as downright nasty as the previous tracks it nevertheless shows a band who are not just a riff machine but one that if they ever decided to go down a more commercial route have the chops and songwriting skills to do so.
Check them out ....

© 2017 Frazer Jones

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