The Black Angels albums

2017

Death Song (4.5 / 5)

            The Black Angels have always excelled at making music of a certain blend of older Psychedelic rock icons, but now they have finally branched out into a more soul-searching kind of sound. It’s still got a hard rock edge, it’s still very rooted in mysticism, but this is their attempt at the “death song” mood of the ballads by early Velvet Underground and the like. “Half Believing” is a successful attempt at a new introspective ballad (perhaps a break up song?) as well as the even more underrated is “Estimate”. The native American influenced “Comanche Moon” blends in with the blistering opener “Currency”, as the dour mood of the music often gives glimpses of hope in the cheerful lyrics, “Never gonna lose you darling / never let them shoot us down”.

               Death Song is their best album of this decade, and ranks up with Directions to See a Ghost from 2008 as their best record. It’s always hard to decide when there is a band that has a very distinctive sound, especially when that sound is so obviously based in music of the psychedelic genre; the Pink Floydish “Life Song” and Clinic influenced “Medicine” are the best examples of that. Lead singer Alex Mass is just a great songwriter, with songs like “I’d Kill for Her” and “Grab as Much as You Can” really showing off entertaining grooves. Black Angels are that rare mix of trippy and catchy that is hard to pull off, even if their albums are variations on the same theme. The little ways in which they change the formula is the part that remains the most captivating. In the genre of 21st century psychedelic rock, I can’t think of a more hypnotic and entertaining rock band.

Best Songs: Half Believing, Estimate, Currency, Life Song