Black Absinthe comes from the metal-rich city of Toronto, Canada and offers a change of pace for a city that is largely stuck in the 80s. While many of their contemporaries play flashy, shredding speed metal, Black Absinthe takes a different approach. Their sound is much more straightforward heavy metal, with a slight stoner edge to it. Rather than try to conform to a specific sound, Black Absinthe simply play the music they want to hear on “Early Signs of Denial”, the band’s upcoming release. This means that there is a lot of diversity amongst the six songs here, but the overall impression is that this release is a hard-hitting rock ‘n roll album with strong metal leanings. A song like the opening cut, “The Wild”, manages to display much of what the band is capable of in just 4 minutes. This track is able to groove, rock out, and make you want to sing along.
“Early Signs of Denial” does have some other tricks though. “Is This Life”, for example, features the occasional harsh vocals in the verse The growls later turn into clean vocals, and the verse provides a Savatage-esque feel to its delivery (a major compliment from me as they’re one of my all-time favourite bands). As with every other song on this release, the chorus of “Is This Life” is rather catchy, and will stick with you even after the record finishes. Another track of interest includes “Berj Khalifa”, which is Black Absinthe’s tribute to The Police. The main riff of this song appears to be a take on “Message In A Bottle”, though the band does manage to make it their own. The best song, however, is the closing track, “Winter”. The riff that kicks things off is so potent that it single-handedly annihilates the rest of the release.
While this style of metal is far outside my normal spectrum of listening, it’s easy to appreciate because it sounds so genuine. Everything is executed to perfection, ranging from the composition of each track, to the quality of the playing, to even the production. “Early Signs of Denial” might feature more groove than most metal, but unlike many groove metal bands, what Black Absinthe does actually works. As guitar tones naturally get heavier, the line between rock and metal seems to get blurrier, and Black Absinthe definitely straddles that line, but for that reason, “Early Signs of Denial” is likely to appeal to both crowds. Overall, this release is a fantastic change of pace from much of what goes on in the metal world (or at least, my perception of it).
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"Is This Life"
4.2/5 or 84%.
Written by Scott