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Black Moth : Anatomical Venus

Followers of Black Moth will be unsurprised by the quality of this latest release; for other Stoner fans this is definitely a good place to start paying attention.

The "female-fronted retro-stoner" sound has been a popular one over the last decade, from the metal riffing of veterans Acid King to the poppier bounce of Jess And The Ancient Ones, and taking in darker occult acts like Jex Thoth. If you had to label Black Moth, that would probably be the right ballpark, though the Leeds-based band actually arrived there by taking the Garage/Punk sound of earlier incarnation The Bacchae and injecting ever heavier and doomier vibes into that. The result is a more raucous and leftfield take than usual on that genre, absent many of the usual standard influences, and compounded by a distinctly political, gynocentric and personal approach to songwriting.

This third album, 'Anatomical Venus', demonstrates the most mature and complete incarnation of that eclectic mix to date, laying out a string of infectious and compelling grooves spearheaded by Harriet Hyde's versatile vocals. Musically, there are nods back as far as the late '60s strands of Roky Erickson's psychedelia, MC5/Stooges-style punky Garage rock and Black Sabbath's proto-Doom, all wrapped up with elements of Grunge, Post-punk and contemporary Stoner drawing on the likes of L7, Kyuss and Uncle Acid. That's quite a lot of name-dropping, but it's by no means a bad thing - whilst all those influences are present, in varying quantities, they're more like touchstones the band draw upon than an absolute definition of their sound. Which, basically, doesn't shy away from sounding fresh and modern, nor from channelling the classics, and in doing so gives Black Moth a quite distinct and unique identity of their own.

So, there's a lot going on in 'Anatomical Venus', with twin guitars laying down the lines and some almighty hefty percussion backing them up: tempo, rhythm and melody shifts aplenty keep things dynamic, and the chimaera vocals shift from darkly beguiling to sinister to swaggeringly confident as they negotiate the intriguingly deep and evocative - not to mention sometimes obscene and brutally defiant - lyrics. It's a clever combination, intelligent without being pretentious, complex without losing punchiness, and pretty much every track straddles that neat balance between sounding great as a studio recording for home listening and promising a raw, rousing, anthemic live version at shows.

If you've been following Black Moth, you'll probably have rightly expected them to deliver all that with this latest release; if you haven't, this is definitely a good place to start paying attention.

Note: A shorter version of this review was originally published in print format in FIRE Magazine Issue 8, Spring 2018.

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Reviewer's rating: 8.5/10


Tracklist :
1. Istra
2. Moonbow
3. Sisters Of The Stone
4. Buried Hoards
5. Severed Grace
6. A Lovers Hate
7. Screen Queen
8. Tourmaline
9. A Thousand Arrows
10. Pig Man

Duration : Approx. 45 minutes

Visit the Black Moth bandpage.

Reviewed on 2018-06-19 by Mike Liassides
A Dream Of Poe - The Wraith Uncrowned
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