THE BLACK QUEEN – FEVER DAYDREAM (2016)
Release Date: 29th February 2016
℗ 2016 The Black Queen
- Now, When I’m This
- Ice To Never
- The End Where We Start
- Secret Scream
- Maybe We Should/Non-Consent
- Strange Quark
- That Death Cannot Touch
- Taman Shud
- Apocalypse Morning
The listener is psychedelically ushered into an alternative world of peaceful melodic relaxation with Now When I’m This, just prior to our senses being overloaded with exclamations, in contemporary vernacular, of what the fuck? The expletives of outright surprise are born of the wondrous dulcet tones of Greg Puciato’s apparent alter ego.
I am thoroughly and willingly, immediately captured by this tremendous work. To repose in a blissful landscape of calm and superb melody. An opportunity for my tortured metal soul to shuffle off is malevolent journey and be wooed into a sense of self-awareness and calm.
This is the 80’s reinvented and refined, with melodic twists and turns a plenty in the traditional form, but with a freshness. A sparkle I am yet to accurately define. We have enjoyed a resurgence of the 80’s style in recent times, but not to this degree of superb finery. And perhaps that is exactly the difference. Our warrior of ferocious metal delivery has calmed to an unprecedented level of vocal exquisiteness, typically associated with more the more popular musical streams. I must pause and remark that this recording is, very obviously, by no means an attempt to capitalise of popularity of contemporary sounds, nor a leap aboard the 80’s resurgence gravy train. This album’s qualities fill you with such healing soulful soothing that you imagine it is surely born of the bands collective desire to revive and create something splendidly munificent.
This albums creators are well known as hard hitting protagonists with Greg Puciato providing vocals, sans fury typical of his work with The Dillinger Escape Plan and Killer Be Killed, Joshua Eustis well regarded for his work with Nine Inch Nails and Puscifer, right alongside Steven Alexander, formerly of The Dillinger Escape Plan, Nine Inch Nails and as a Ke$ha tech. Now let’s face it, these lads have led us all in the exercising of our more malign tendencies, and with this recording, provide us with a path of alternate contemplation to our existence. The End Where We Start will have your mind racing back in time to capture reference points in the vast cerebral chasms of musical memory, but what we cannot escape is the monumental skill of execution. With mid track electronic distortion, you can feel that sweaty and beaten stage front fan of Greg struggling to get loose, but then ‘we are consumed’ by the tranquil melody back into benign awe.
The sheer beauty and elegance of Greg Puciato’s vocal delivery is, in essence, astounding. Equally astounding is that last sentence and never a turn of phase I have previously coined. Brutal…yes. Vicious, fierce, unrelenting….ah…yes, yup and yahah. But this production? I’m simply blown away.
Secret Scream has a distinctly saucy quality that is perhaps, a little darker of soul than the predecessors, but again you find yourself in abstract amazement in who has created this music. A tremendous beat oozes forth and brilliant electronic melodic path, lay the foundation for Greg’s almost sexual, vocal entwinement with his musical companion. Fever Daydream becomes a most apt title indeed.
As a staunch devotee of Greg’s work I am filled with reminiscent reflection of him launching himself into the willing arms of fans during the very first live appearance of Killer Be Killed at Soundwave 2015, or perhaps the crowd surfing expertise demonstrated during their Australian shows. I hold fond memories of a being trapped stage front during The Dillinger Escape Plan performances, struggling hopelessly to get lens to subject sans barrier. Heaving helplessly with the furious wave of revellers, blissfully subject to the furious angry celebration flowing to and fro. Perhaps there is simply a limit to the sheer volume of angst one soul can bear. Perhaps this is the journey of a true musician cleansing his soul of the unbearable overflow of brutal musical subject and delivery. Through his kindness we are able to adorn our Silver Tiger Media business cards with his image mid musical vehemence, and quite honestly, I cannot wait to discuss this album, and its creation in detail. It is just that astounding. Insights into the band’s journey to arrive at this monumental milestone will be thoroughly captivating.
By Maybe We Should, you realise that the 80’s esque overtones have all but blended into an odd background haze, and the album takes on its very own form. Dare I say its own genre? Perhaps ‘Metal Respite’? Then at the very end of this brilliant track we find ourselves in electronic tête-à-tête, but it really fits the track to an absolute tee. Astounding.
Distanced has me reflecting upon relaxed journeys along Sunset in Los Angeles, taking in the tremendous musical history of West Hollywood and surrounds. The musical considerations that must have accompanied the penning of this track, will surely be absolutely encapsulating, simply because at finale, you realise you were thoroughly embedded into a dreamscape of reflection. Strange Quark is very much of the same ilk.
That Death Cannot Touch takes a turn back toward days gone by, but the sobering element to consider is, very simply, where this track would have rated in popularity in the 1980’s. Is this the superb blending of sound that bands were striving to achieve? Putting that question into context, we cannot escape how superb this sound is today. And the vocal skills demonstrated during this track are utterly sensational.
Taman Shud is a track prompting me, albeit a rarity, to hold comment. I believe this is so sensational that it needs to be heard in context during the album playlist to be thoroughly appreciated.
Apocalypse Morning is absolutely haunting, beautiful and with such intense instrumental movements that you will hard pressed to find desire to awaken from the dreamscape established. That is until the solo note finale breaks you free from the trance.
This album is thrilling in engaging complexity. A bolt from the blue is a tremendous understatement. A more apt description would be a journey of musical evolution to which, we all may bear witness. Fellow metalliers, leave you weighty expectations at the door and just enjoy this soulful journey of bliss. Truly historical and moving. This will be on my shelf, right next to One of Us Is the Killer, as my shrine to contemporary spiritual yin and yang. Now, when you buy this work, you will discover so much more every time you press play. It is a goldmine of musical brilliance.