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The Black League - Ghost Brothel (CD)

The Black League
Ghost Brothel
by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos at 11 June 2009, 7:56 PM

I know that Taneli Jarva rings the SENTENCED bell in your mind and makes you think of the band's trademark album Amok. Indeed, this singer has connected his name to an album that actually gave birth to an entire Metal genre but strangely this review/album has nothing to do with this era. In fact, when THE BLACK LEAGUE released Ichor in 2000 everyone was talking about the Amok sound and that Jarva was continuing what SENTENCED had stopped doing with the more Gothic oriented Down having Ville Laihiala behind the mic.
But THE BLACK LEAGUE were not to stay for long in the Ichor path and after -the very good- Utopia A.D. and the following three years of silence decided to follow the Stoner sound. This decision made me lose my initial interest to this band and not to pay attention to Man's Ruin Revisited. But, seasons change and Ghost Brothel is here to make me burry the hatchet once and for all…
After the Heavy intro that breathes Stoner and the down-tuned guitar Southern Scars & Curse comes to lift the mood up. The main riff and Jarva's trademark growls enter to prove that there is something interesting here. The southern Rock mid tempo break smells burbon and whiskey from miles and impressively states that this is where THE BLACK LEAGUE belongs now. The Danzig-sounding clean vocals and the 'dirty' sounding guitar leads strangely gained my attention that -as the album progressed- turned into affection. I used the adverb 'strangely' since I am not a die-hard fan of the Stoner scene. Ok, this sound is good to have a beer (maybe more) with good company but is not the type of music that I like listening to when I am alone. I don't know why, but I think it is kind of predictable from my taste.
Nevertheless, the word 'predictable' has nothing to do with Ghost Brothel; THE BLACK LEAGUE have a surprise in every corner for us making the listening session a hearty sound trip. What else can I mention here? The ultimate groove in Bones 'N' Thangs or the chilling Blues-meets-Jazz Misfortune? Yeah, Jarva sounds comfortable in the Southern Rock outfit and gives another dimension to this fruitful track. The guitars do not follow the classic Stoner recipe and hit the listener with excellent solos and bluesy phrasing that will make you look again in the cover artwork to affirm that it reads THE BLACK LEAGUE where the band's name should be.
The sound production is excellently mixed and powerfully delivers the strange blend of all the music genres that can (and should) be discovered in Ghost Brothel. This album made me recheck the band's back catalogue and come to the conclusion that taking the Man's Ruin Revisited Stoner turn was not a bad idea at all. On the contrary, the band managed to establish a strong name in this scene and lift the SENTENCED shadow above them. After all, I would not like to have a SENTENCED-sounding band that would like to re-produce the famous Amok atmosphere in every album. No, THE BLACK LEAGUE come with a handful of nice melodies and excellent grooves that do not lose an inch of the overall heaviness. Even the female backing vocals and the piano tunes in Until We Sail sound Heavy to me…. At least check them out. Below is the live recorded Bury Yer Brother from the A Place Called Bad album.
Bury Yer Brother

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
Zero Providence (Intro)
Southern Scars & Curse
Malabarista
Bones 'N' Thangs
Misfortune
The Beast Is A Riddle
Bipolar Meltdown
No Parole
Ghost Brothel
Until We Sail
Vin Mariani
Joke's Over
Heavy Downer
Lineup:
Taneli Jarva - Vocals
Maike Valanne - Guitar
Kimmi Hiltunen - Guitar
Ilkka Tanska - Bass Guitar
Rale Tiiainen - Drums
Record Label: Brainbomber Records / Edel
     


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