The Black Angels

Record review

Texas Platters

The Black Angels

Passover (Light in the Attic)

Austin quintet the Black Angels have descended in legion. From the first mud-filled notes of opener "Young Men Dead," with its declaration "run for the hills, pick up your feet and let's go," you can feel the fire under you ass. The Angels don't veer much from song to song; they're all made up of similar tribal adrenaline beats, Christian Bland and Nate Ryan's plodding guitar attack, and drone-assisted suicide missions. It's what they do within the confines of these dark foxholes. "The First Vietnamese War" stumbles into the heavy crash of "The Sniper at the Gates of Heaven," all trembling bass and the clenched fate of Alex Maas' lyrics: "What is it like when hell surrounds you? How hot does it get? I think I've already felt it." There's a definite Doors-lost-in-rural-Kentucky vibe, and Maas' vibrato sounds as much like Grace Slick as it does the Lizard King himself. "Black Grease" and "Manipulation" are the standouts here, stretching out Sixties psych-o-drone and offering a blissed-out respite to the surrounding blaze. The Black Angels succeed; it's so dark, you almost can't listen to it again. But of course you do.

***.5

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