The discovery of a new band is always exciting. Will it be something you’ve heard countless times? An experience that leaves a bad taste in your mouth? Or is it a treat from which you cannot stop consuming? I wanted to take a trip back in time to reminisce about bands/albums that not only introduced me to heavy music, but kept me coming back for more…
From The Archive: Black Sheep Wall – I Am God Songs
This next band is a late comer to my ever growing collection, but nonetheless they’ve earned a spot in this column. Why you ask, because their “We don’t give a fuck, lets just play heavy music” attitude completely destroyed my ears upon first go around with their album, I Am God Songs. I was not prepared for the heavy onslaught of down-tempo chords and savage vocals that treated my body like a rag-doll, and I like to think that Black Sheep Wall could care less as this is most likely their intent with the music they create…
Some of you might pick up on the reference to their name, but for those who don’t know, it’s a cheat code from the classic video game Starcraft, so they already have a geek factor going for them, which is a plus, but the real beauty lies in the music itself. Four members make up the outfit that is Black Sheep Wall, and with a force of sound they create, it comes off sounding as though there should be more members, similar to that of how Iron Thrones sounds. It’s just an overall wall of sound, albeit organized and with meaning.
This is Black Sheep Wall’s debut album, and it’s evident from the first bone crushing and punishing chord, that this album is set to annihilate with the upmost haste. While the album contains plenty of elements derived from noise, it’s surprisingly polished and well handled. While the guitars, vocals and drums are heavy and immense, they come off sounding crisp, so every note is heard. The bass is a bit murky and sort of blends in with the rest of the instruments, but it’s most likely due to the bands drop B tuning. Honestly though, it doesn’t take away from the impact of I Am God Songs, as the mood of this album is bleak and angry.
Instead of dissecting each track as they all share the same structure and attitude, it’s easier to be blunt and to the point about I Am God Songs. What you’re getting with this album is the meshing of heavy palm-muted, grooving and disharmonic riffs/chords that while not being mind-blowingly technical, are raw and chaotic, and when alongside the vocals, resonate a feeling of despair. This is what I Am God Songs is about, an album to be consumed and digested over a long period of time by the listener, as quite honestly, this isn’t an album for everyone. It took me multiple listens to really get into the mindset of these guys and walk away from the album with a sense of… well, feeling moody, but oddly satisfied.
My favorite aspect of the album though, has to be the vocals. Being a vocalist myself, or more so a screaming maniac, I always take extra notice of vocals, especially those that I draw similarities too in the way I do mine. Savage, brutal, emotional, the energy that spews from this dudes mouth is unadulterated and raw. Sure the music sets the mood, but the vocals take it to the next level and what I enjoy most about them, is that there isn’t much control in his delivery. His long, deep and drawn out rage is real, no gimmicks, just an emotional wave of disgust and anger being released in a fitting manor to the accompanying music.
As I said, it’s not for everyone. I Am God Songs needs to be trudged through, but believe me, it’s worth it, and once you get through it, you’ll find yourself coming back to it time and time again. Now all there is to do is patiently wait for their next album, as this being released back in 2008, it’s due time for another album from Black Sheep Wall. Now I’ll leave you with the best track on the album, the melodic and distraught “Modest Machine”…
Black Sheep Wall – “Modest Machine”