Doom is such a descriptive word. Death, destruction… even failure. Not many connotations of the word will fill you full of hope or joy. “We’re all doomed… doomed I tell you”. Not many high fives or fist bumps would follow that. Doom metal is not the cheeriest. Not much variation to it either. Slow, sludgy riffs and pounding drums, a bell toll usually being the one thing missing. To retain the listener’s attention, it needs to have something unique amongst the countless bands ploughing the same furrow. Trouble had the dulcet tones of vocalist Eric Wagner, and his return with Blackfinger should fill any self respecting fan of the genre with joy. Doom and joy hardly go hand in hand, but you get the point. ‘When Colors Fade Away’ is the sophomore effort from Blackfinger, and one that perhaps fans of Wagner didn’t see coming. His previous output with The Skull was warmly greeted, and three years on, his warm narrative-style of vocals pour from the speakers with new material. Mournful and morose, yet commanding, masterful, and gargantuan. As the title track kicks off the album with it’s slow, plodding riffs, it’s hard not to think of Black Sabbath. The simple drum sound from David Snyder is immense, choosing finesse over bombast, working perfectly in unison with Wagner’s mournful vocal delivery. Wagner could phone to tell you that you had won the lottery and you would still think that someone had died. Cheerful it is not, but since when did music have to be cheery to have an effect?
‘Can I Get A Witness’ mixes it up by adding a trippy psychedelic vibe, mainly thanks to the hypnotic bass from Matthew Cross. When this fades out, the band come in and totally crush. The dual guitars from Matthew Tuite and Terry Weston are fiery and fearsome. Very groovy stuff indeed. The funky bass continues on the intro to ‘All My Sorrow’, which is also one of the few times that Wagner changes up his spoken word singing style, albeit briefly. The lyrics are simplistic and creepy “Hush little babies don’t you cry, you know your daddy was born to die”. The nursery rhyme-esque lyrics continue on ‘My Old Soul’ which could be described as a mash-up of Black Sabbath and ‘Old King Cole’… merry old soul, indeed. ‘Afternow’ is a great throwback to classic Trouble, and a timely reminder of Wagner’s powerful vocal range, with a towering Robert Plant-esque performance. After the crushing doom of ‘Crossing The River Turmoil’, the softer intro on ‘Beside Still Water’ offers welcome relief. When it does kick into life with a wall of noise, it is a beast of Godzillian proportions. ‘Waiting For The Sun’ is very deft. Imagine Pink Floyd with buzzsaw guitars and you’re halfway there. Ending on the more familiar ground of ‘Til We Meet Again’, Blackfinger don’t overstay their welcome and bow out after less than forty minutes. Get in, turn it up, then get out and leave the audience wanting more. Job done.
Available now, more information online.
Review: Dave Stott