Razed To The Ground
Century Media Records/E.M.I. Music Australia
On paper, the signing up of Denton (Texas, U.S.) based outfit Pinkish Black to Century Media Records’ roster simply doesn’t make sense. Just why would a label that specialises in all things metal sign up a duo that doesn’t even have a guitarist within their ranks? Has Century Media Records lost the plot and put their credibility on the line for the sake of simply branching out into territory previous uncharted genre wise?
While Pinkish Black (Comprising of keyboardist/vocalist Daron Beck and drummer Jon Teague) may not boast a guitarist, and their music isn’t strictly metal, their sound sits comfortably amongst some of Century Media Records’ more left of centre/avant-garde outfits. Clearly Century Media Records aren’t afraid to take a gamble on a near unknown outfit, because while Pinkish Black is somewhat of an oddity, there’s something truly captivating and dark within their latest release ‘Razed To The Ground’ (The follow-up to 2012’s self titled effort through Handmade Birds), and that’s sure to captivate those who are drawn to the more experimental side of atmospheric metal.
The duo opens up the album with ‘She Left Him Red’, which after a slow build-up is a track that’s awash with densely layered keyboards that create a truly heavy and gritty bass sound, and a drumming attack that’s relentless throughout that gives the song a real urgent drive. Despite the lack of guitars, the duo manage to deliver a haunting metallic sound that’s quite hypnotic and bizarre, and yet progressive and thought provoking in an almost avant-garde black metal sense. It’s a captivating way to open up the album, and one that immediately won me over.
The follow-up track ‘Ashtray Eyes’ tones down the frenzied rush of the opener to make way for a more relaxed pace, albeit in a droning doom/shoegazing depressive manner. Beck’s heartfelt and melancholic vocals really adds an air of morbidity to the atmospherics created on the musical side of things while the lead keyboards add a touch of ‘70’s mystique to proceedings, which brings to mind fellow keyboard rockers Zombi in part.
‘Kites And Vultures’ is most likely to appeal to those who prefer the heavier side of things with the duo cranking up the speed and aggression to deliver one truly menacing and venomous effort to counterbalance the laid back vibe of the former track, while the title track ‘Razed To The Ground’ is a more rock based grooving kind of tune that again reminds me more of Zombi – but with a truly thicker and grittier sound, and vocals that play a supporting role in giving the song a catchiness rather than lead outright.
‘Bad Dreamer’ sees a return to the melancholy and downbeat sound and tempo of ‘Ashtray Eyes’, but with a stronger piano presence and an almost gothic influence brought to the forefront, while the combination of tribal drumming and churning keyboards on the upbeat ‘Rise’ is another favourite on the latter half of the album.
Finishing up the album is ‘Loss Of Feeling Of Loss’, which is undoubtedly the most retro progressive sounding and psychedelic sounding track on the album, and is a breathtaking way to finish off the album (Barring of course the somewhat strange tinkering piano/windblown effects based hidden track).
Pinkish Black’s ‘Razed To The Ground’ isn’t remotely related to anything metal, and yet it’s so appealing and relatable to those who prefer the heavier side of music. With ‘Razed To The Ground’, Pinkish Black have delivered an album that’s dark, interesting and heavy, and all in one that showcases Pinkish Black’s truly unique sound.
This album is a winner for the band, Century Media Records and to those who have an interest in the unusual and left of centre releases rather than the mainstream. Your efforts will be rewarded.
For more information on Pinkish Black, check out - https://www.facebook.com/pinkishblackband
© Justin Donnelly