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Black Book Lodge - Steeple and Spire

Black Book Lodge
Steeple and Spire
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 23 May 2018, 6:56 AM

BLACK BOOK LODGE is a quartet based in Copenhagen, Denmark. From their promo bio: “They are not easily labeled in regards to a specific genre, as they work within a lot of different styles and somehow manage to merge these different inputs into a powerful, melodic, organic, and original whole.” They present their latest offering here, “Steeple and Spire,” which contains nine tracks.

 “In Halves” leads off the album. The opening notes are slow, heavy and somewhat dissonant. I would have to agree with the bio description, in that I would loosely call this “Rock,” but fail to draw any immediate comparisons with other bands. At about the half way mark, it picks up in pace with a new riff, but that weight is still omnipresent. Interestingly, a key change marked with some lead guitar work take it to a whole different place. I’m intrigued. “Spoil the Child” is another bit of mystery. I’ve heard this vocal style before but cannot quite place where. Some of the more ethereal moments remind of a modernized PINK FLOYD for lack of a better comparison. The title track is an emotional and thoughtful song, with pensive vocals and an airy, dreamy quality of music. They bring more melody into the fold here, making it more accessible to the listener, and the lead guitar work is nothing short of fantastic.

“Sum of Every I” opens with a bluesy clean guitar riff and vocals that seem to float In the air around you. It builds into a monumental sound, charged with emotion and high in positive energy. “Teething” features more minor chords, and is a bit murky and dark in its delivery. Something lurks within that remains hidden in the shadows. Is there a bit of a U2 influence showing here, or is it just me? “The Tower Bell” features more of those dreamy vocals and an unconventional guitar riff. If nothing else, this is very personal music in every sense of that word. “Walls” delves even further into that quiet place where you go for reflection. It’s over before you really even get the chance to wrap your head around it. “Weightless Now” is the two-part closing song. The first movement is heavy and with some discord. The chord progressions go in areas that are at times surprising and that you might not expect. It’s a heavy track but still with those ethereal features. In the second movement, the heaviness drops off somewhat. Trippy and a bit odd, but with some melodic overtones, it is a unique experience.

Overall, the album has me quite perplexed. They were right in the fact that there really isn’t an overarching genre label that you can apply here, I know, genre labeling is for scientists and snobs, right? Somewhat true, but it does allow the listener to form a basis of deciding whether or not they might want to check it out, and a reviewer the opportunity to recommend it to fans of a certain base. In this case, I really cannot sum it up well enough in words. It’s far too unique and personal. Did I enjoy listening to it? Mostly. In the spirit of stretching out of your comfort zone, I would at least recommend that you try it to see if it is to your liking. My favorite song: “Spoil the Child.”

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 9
Memorability: 6
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. In Halves
2. Spoil the Child
3. Steeple and Spire
4. Sum of Every I
5. Teething
6. The Tower Bell
7. Walls
8. Weightless Now Pt. 1
9. Weightless Now Pt. 2
Lineup:
Ronny Jønsson – Guitars, Vocals
Kristian Klærke – Guitars
Steven Ardilsø – Bass
Jakob Gundel – Drums
Record Label: Mighty Music
     


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