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Black Sites - Untrue Award winner

Black Sites
by Andrew Harvey at 05 November 2021, 6:21 AM

This alternative metal trio are from Chicago, Illinois (USA)and have been active since 2015 after the band began with MARK SUGAR. He was also coming from another metalcore band(TRIALS) and put together another band with his former band mate RYAN BRUCHERT. This led to the formation of a more progressive and heavy metal band, they called themselves BLACK SITES and their third member on drums now is GARRY NAPLES.

BLACK SITES began their journey in 2017 with their debut album titled IN MONOCHROME as they were once described as “an alternative metal outfit known for their melody-laden songs, crushing guitar riffs and groove aesthetics”. MARK SUGAR himself was influenced by IRON MAIDEN, QUEENSRYCHE and MOTORHEAD. He then “was inspired to trust his instincts and abandon the melodic death metal style of his past project in favour of pursuing a more progressive sound.” After their first album, this was closely followed up by EXILE in 2019 but now they have a brand new album titled UNTRUE.

This new album begins with the intro track that was released, before as a single “Swords Of Orion”, opening with rumbling soundscape. Then it transitions into these melodic guitar riffs, with rolling drum patterns before a thumping beat rhythm accompanied by dark warm vocals. A good start full of ambience, variable guitar riffs, cutting edge vocals and thrashing drums but with some guitar solo work blossoming.

“Call It by Its Name” follows on with similar drum rhythms, heavy guitar hooks and vocals biting through the mix with clarity and effective vocal range too. It starts with mellow guitar strums before all instruments jump into action for a fortune 5 minutes or more. Featuring a sort of doom/sludge/stoner rock guitar and distorted soundscape. “Lost Tribes” comes with hardcore guitar chopping through the mix overrun by vocals, layered with fabulous drumming as before. Even halfway through the electric guitar takes center stage and overflows with solo work. “Echo Of A Lie” takes a more broken down drum pattern with a straight forward guitar line full of eccentric pitch shifts and theatrical surprises. Over halfway there is a gradual crescendo with guitar, drums and occult-like vocal harmonies layered nicely. This 6 minute track is just exquisite, well produced and well written.

“The Worst of Us” repeating mostly what we heard before, guitar shining as ever with vocals so dominant, well balanced as well. This fifth track makes us want more and we deserve filthy guitar yet heavy. The lower end of drums is so stimulating and touches our inner soul. “Nocturne/Everything Went Black” really brings out the more subtle characteristics of guitar echoing with explosive accents, using drums and cymbal hits giving clarity. Gradual at first the bang, back to basics with thumping drums, melodic guitar and well spoken words of vocals.

“They Eat Their Young” has the same potential as before, drums very fluent and consistent. Guitar puts the foot down on the accelerator for true hardcore metal mania. “White Ashes” is the final chapter of downright heavy or progressive elements, gradual crescendo at first. Guitar once again picks it’s moments for full throttle and blissful noise. Flowing smoothly like a wave of progressive ambience injected with hardcore accompaniment of drums & vocals.

This is a superb album giving some thoughts to take like how electrifying guitar screeches and plays wonderfully. Vocals sombre in tone, dark not haunting just got a serious attitude and growling lower end. Drums just pick out moments to pounce but pull back when necessary. Sincerely a joy and honour to listen to this awesome band, just a fine masterpiece.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Sword Of Orion
2. Call It by Its Name
3. Lost Tribes
4. Echo Of A Lie
5. The Worst Of Us
6. Nocturne/Everything Went Black
7. They Eat Their Young
8. White Ashes
Mark Sugar - Vocals & Guitars
Ryan Bruchert - Vocals & Guitars
Garry Naples - Drums
Record Label: Independent


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