Black Heart Procession – [Album]

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

At some point, goth culture – as in, eye-liner, heavy foundation, the glory of The Smiths and maintaining a general state of very outspoken malaise – wears a bit thin as fans age and gets comical for those on the outside looking in when they see the caricature of “aging darkness” that the average aged gothic music fan becomes. Needless to say, bands must grow with their audience in this particular subculture or risk the same indignant fate. This fact obviously not lost on Black Heart Procession as the band's sixth album in twelve years finds them working within the basic guidelines of the gothic sound they've been playing with since 1998, but changing the game in such a way that it will be more sustainable with a decade of history now behind them.

What's instantly noticeable from the very beginning of “When You Finish Me” is that the same basic sadness that has always been so key to Black Heart Procession's sound is still firmly entrenched, but the presentation of the ideas is radically different. Once, the band had a propensity to get loud and even screechy when their songs got too heavy but, on Six, they've opted for a more regal and reserved demeanor in songs like “When You Finish Me,” “Wasteland,” “Witching Stone” and “Rats” which all choose a wry, resigned smile over allowing the consistently dark imagery to tax their patience or build to explosive potential later on. Simply said, Black Heart Procession is less Birthday Party on Six and more Leonard Cohen; the band watches the demons that populate these songs and sizes them up without actually partaking of them or interacting directly with them.

That reservation carries over into the music behind these non-threatening chronicles. At no point do the emotional states build to a fever pitch, they simply languish resignedly as torrents of anguish and anger swirl around them. Some of the alterations that the band undergoes are fascinating; sometimes as a half-tempo tango, sometimes as a Waits-ian shuffle or a scarifying take on The Future, songs like “Last Chance,” “Wasteland,” All My Steps” and “Rats” all willfully evolve the band's sound into far more mature work – it sounds older, tighter and better polished than ever before. With Six, Black Heart Procession has discovered the best possible career sustenance for them, which would ask them to change the least: they've taken some classic ideas that have repeatedly been proven to work, added their own sensibilities and placed a new spin on it that is wildly engaging and dark as hell. Check out Six if you want to take a different kind of walk on the wild side.



Black Heart Procession – “Rats” – Six

Black Heart Procession – “Witching Stone” – Six


Six is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

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