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Blackstaff - The Dark Stick

The Dark Stick
by "Metal Mark" Garcia at 01 March 2023, 2:49 PM

One of the most influential features in music is the country from where a band comes from. Let’s try to explain this idea clearly: if you take one Swedish Metal act and compare another band of the same genre of USA, things will be extremely different (of course considering the personality of the band). So to deal with “The Dark Stick”, the latest EP of the North American one-man band BLACKSTAFF becomes easier with this in mind. To label the band’s music as Doom/Sludge Metal isn’t fair, especially because one can take the band to other genres due the extreme tunes of the vocals (to be honest, the band’s music can sound as a Death/Black Metal act if one fails to detect things in a better level).

So it’s something brutal and crude, oppressive and sometimes extreme, but with some surprise parts (as the darkened and atmospheric melancholic moments heard on “Corpse Queen”). Of course that the band’s musical expression must evolve a bit more (it’s not bad, but could be better, indeed), but this EP is a very good experience for the ears, indeed. Todd Purnick is the name of the guy who signs the mixing and mastering, and he created something harsh and crude, with abrasive instrumental tunes. But things could be better, because the whole sonority has a “dry’ appeal, but due the choice for the instrumental tunes, things are fuzzy sometimes (especially the guitars).

“The Bone Hand Speaks” is oppressive and nasty due its slow paced outfit, with some astonishing broken rhythms in many moments. “Flesh Eater” follows in the same way due its ritualistic appeal, with somber slow moments (where bass guitar and drums conducts the brutal and heavy rhythmic sheath). On “Corpse Queen” is presented a very good set of contrasts, with melancholic introspective parts in the middle of the distorted and nasty moments (and the nasty tunes of the vocals are a fine choice to be laid over such instrumental). On “Storm Golem” the fans will deal with a long instrumental song, based on aggressive guitar riffs and some groove touches. And “Craterhoof” is the song where the band becomes nearer extreme Metal genres (due some fast double bass parts of the drums), but keeping its Doom/Sludge essence.

“The Dark Stick” can be a surprising release for Doom/Sludge Metal fans, but as mentioned above, the potential of BLACKSTAFF is still about to be fully released.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

1. The Bone Hand Speaks
2. Flesh Eater
3. Corpse Queen
4. Storm Golem (instrumental)
5. Craterhoof
Dustin Cleary - Vocals, All Instruments
Record Label: Independent


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