Thomas Erak, ex-The Fall Of Troy mastermind, really does know his way around a fretboard, doesn’t he? If you’re familiar with either TFOT or Just Like Vinyl‘s debut self-titled effort, then you might have a rough idea of what to expect from ‘Black Mass’. That isn’t to say that this album is predictable, not by a long way, but you won’t be too shocked by the frenetic nature of the instrumental work on offer here (saying that, the frenzied vocals aren’t exactly a bog standard affair either).
It would be easy to conclude, from the individual elements present, that this would be a fairly mish-mash affair in a similar vein to the band’s debut offering, where complexity ruled above content. Fortunately, however, Just Like Vinyl have found some direction and cohesiveness where only discord and chaos previously existed. This ‘honing’ of the band’s sound allows for a much more pleasant listen, there’s still a good amount of madness present, undoubtedly, but this time they’ve prescribed just the right dosage of it.
‘Black Mass’ sounds completely organic in its ways, with not a single note feeling out of place despite the diversity of riffage on offer; a remarkable achievement when you consider the almost pop-punk nature of the opening riff to ‘Pressure/Release’, which would sound a bit too left field on most albums of this nature. Yet, somehow it fits in just fine alongside all the proggy, mathy, techy elements of this record.
It has to be said that although this is an extremely well put together record, it does feel to drag on a little. This is mostly owing to the pacing of the album, with a full-on, pedal to the metal attitude taken start to finish. It can be a pretty daunting listen to focus on, especially when there’s just so much going on in all directions.
Finding their feet in a big way would be the easiest way to sum up ‘Black Mass’. A much more urgent and direct sounding affair that truly does sound like much more of a collective effort that it’s predecessor. Whilst ‘Black Mass’ is definitely not without its flaws, if the band continue to progress in such a huge way, they really could be on to something quite special.
Written by Ryan De Freitas