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Cold Black River - Tales of Death and the Devil Award winner

Cold Black River
Tales of Death and the Devil
by Dave Nowels at 09 June 2019, 12:24 PM

Well crafted hooks, heavy riffs, powerhouse vocals and a smidgen of oddity are the mainstay's of COLD BLACK RIVER's newest, “Tales of Death and the Devil”. The Midwest {Wisconsin) Stoner trio formed in 2013 and if their Bandcamp page is too be believed,  released this new work back around Halloween last year. An independent release, “Tales of Death and the Devil” carries with it 7 tracks and one bonus “secret” track.  The band refers to their sound as “Swamp Rock”, which, lets face it, is basically another term for Sludgy, Bluesy Stoner jams.

The album opens with a short constructed piece titled, “Numbers Station”. It's one of the sources of my earlier comment about “oddity”, and I can't help but wonder about it's significance.  The track gets rehashed again at the end of the album as, “Number Station (revisited)” before kicking off the secret track ”Androids Embrace”.  The actual first piece of music on the album is “The Deserts of Mars” which evolves from the intro. A really impressive instrumental, it gives tremendous insight into COLD BLACK RIVER's ability to compose a quality song not necessarily dependent on just a riff. But yeah, the riff is pretty impressive as well. Speaking of riffs, the one that launches “Keep Rollin'” next is a monster one. The guitar tone Jeremy Roseland achieves is going to be a source of constant inquiries as more and more guitarists hear this album. It's rich, warm and multi-textured, and absolutely compliments Eric Cobb's more than solid bass work and Neil Fallon styled vocals. Behind it all, Aaron Kanitz's kit work is subtlety damn near perfect.

Yeah, it's obvious CLUTCH is a tremendous influence, but it still caught me a bit off guard how similar Cobb's vocal presentation is to Fallon's at times. ”Anywhere You Wanna” being a reflection of that. That said, it's never oppressively so, and the band's sound is distinctly their own. The songs here are catchy and at times even anthemic. “Vengeance of the Clouds” being a prime example. “Tales of Death and the Devil” is an album that really began to grow on me after subsequent listens. It's one of those albums that definitely benefits from that type of approach, as details fine and minute begin to become more apparent each run-through. COLD BLACK RIVER have dropped a Stoner album that proudly exceeds the usual boundaries of Stoner Metal. While groundbreaking would be a bit of an exaggeration, their inventive and creative approach certainly deserves to be celebrated.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Numbers Station
2. The Deserts of Mars
3. Keep Rollin'
4. Among the Star
5. Oh My Goddess
6. Vengeance of the Clouds
7. Anywhere ya Wanna
9. Numbers Station (revisited)
10. Androids Embrace (Secret Track)
 
Lineup:
Jeremy Roseland – Guitars
Eric Cobb – Bass and Vocals
Aaron Kanitz - Drums
Record Label: Independent
     


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Edited 25 August 2019
 

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