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Starblind – Black Bubbling Ooze

Starblind
Black Bubbling Ooze
by Joseph Brewer at 07 September 2020, 9:05 PM

Heavy metal will never die! Especially when fueled by the rich tinder of musicians: whiskey, beer, and headbanging. Swedish STARBLIND are pure heavy metal spirit distilled into a five piece ensemble, each member infused with the essence of the legends of metal past. Formed in 2013, STARBLIND performed and recorded their first album live, “Darkest Horrors”. In their view, this was the only true way to obtain the best possible record to highlight their melodic throwback sound. Since then, they have released two more albums, “Dying Son” and “Never Seen Again”. Referencing classic heavy metal icons like JUDAS PRIEST, IRON MAIDEN, and MANOWAR, STARBLIND carries the torch of twin guitar, clean, and shred-y metal with their newest album “Black Bubbling Ooze”.

First off, I would like to highlight that not many album titles have put a smile on my face as easily as STARBLIND’sBlack Bubbling Ooze”. As a metal fan, over time, you learn to appreciate the serious as well as the silly. And in a moment like this, recognize that the band is actually delivering a bit of both. This is highlighted by an ominous album cover; a lone flag bearer stands watch on a worn brick barrier, gazing out towards a blackened storm over the ocean. Fantastic imagery to establish the tone for this album, which contrasts bright, heavy metal against dark themes.

One Of Us” gets going with a scratchy, amped up guitar riff that leads in the rest of the band. Vocalist Marcus S. Olkerud has a great vocal range, and while he relies mostly on classic heavy metal falsetto in most songs, he incorporates the low end often. This song, in particular, has a nice slow down right before the chorus. Only the bass, drums, and Olkerud’s low chant ring through, before the speed kicks back in and we reach the chorus, which is an upbeat, moving melody. Very reminiscent of early IRON MAIDEN in the song structure.

At The Mountain Of Madness” is up next and, for me, is essentially the title track. It’s also one of the best overall songs on the album. The opening is epic, a quick guitar and bass line that builds, layers adding on, before Olkerud belts out a killer wail. Zakarias Wikner on drums holds nothing back with a breakneck beat that adds to the frantic ambiance of the song. Once they reach the chorus, the pace slows down slightly, but deliberately, as Olkerud utters the lyrics, “Black Bubbling Ooze”. His voice drips with velvety oil as he utters those words. They repeat this pattern a few times before guitarists Björn Rosenblad and Johan 'J.J.' Jonasson take turns ripping through solos. Altogether, the song works to really set the listener into a specific position in the story for the album.

Another great song on the album is “Room 101”. While it starts off with a more straightforward musical opening, the chorus section is extremely catchy. Long sustained notes and sustained harmonies for me often have that earworm effect. I also like that it’s not too busy. The guitars are holding chords, Olkerud and the vocals are layered and melodic. Then there’s Wikner on drums and Daniel Tillberg on bass going wild. I appreciate the low end being so active as it gives a fun break from the normal shredding that happens so often in classic heavy metal.

There really is not a bad song on “Black Bubbling Ooze”. Coming in at around 35 minutes with 8 songs, the album is a short, frantic affair that never really slows down. “Crystal Tears” is the closest to a ballad, and even that song has a truly powerful chorus. I appreciate the production decisions made by STARBLIND as well. Each song is extremely clean and articulate with minimal distortion except when they want to rip it open. But there is a rawness to it that instantly puts you in the headspace of the iconic metal bands from the 70s and 80s. Well worth a listen!

Favorite Songs: “At the Mountain of Madness”, “Room 101

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

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. One Of Us
2. At The Mountain Of Madness
3. Here I Am
4. Crystal Tears
5. The Man Of The Crowd
6. Room 101
7. The Reckoning
8. The Young Man
Lineup:
Marcus Sannefjord Olkerud – Vocals
Björn Rosenblad – Guitar
Johan 'J.J.' Jonasson – Guitar, Keyboards
Daniel Tillberg – Bass
Zakarias Wikner – Drums
Record Label: Pure Steel Records
     


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