Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Silverblack - Self-Titled (Remixed and Remastered) (2016)

This very short remastered and remixed version of the industrial goth rockers debut album feels more like an EP release than a debut. Even though there are ten songs featured here, it feels more like a smattering of ideas that was further realized on the group's next effort. There are obvious references to The Deathstars here, especially right in the vocal tone of album opener “Chimera.” Throughout the album we are introduced to a very dark vocal croon in the background, which would definitely have to be Disarmonia Mundi's Claudio Ravinale and could carry the weight of the record completely on it's own. Unfortunately, this is technically Neroargento's main band with him performing the leads, samples and the majority of the vocals, which are a bit more focused towards lighter and more fragile territory which doesn't work as well for me. For instance, there's a section in “Dandelion” where a clean vocal is used, which feels a bit closer to Manson and far from that deep tongued Bloody Kisses Pete Steele vibe that Ravinale is going for. Aside from that, you're going to find a very interesting mix of guitar and electronica here, which is often as bouncy as it is gothic. It often feels like both vocalists are struggling for supremacy here, as one fellow prefers a harsh approach to the clean approach of the other – you can only imagine how this comes off on the recording, sounding not unlike an utter mess. Less is more, and there is just too much going on as far as the record is concerned. The Silverblack need to find a way to separate vocal duties in this act, or someone needs to go. That's not to say that heartwrenching number “Someone like you” or the catchy “Once Again” (by which the harsh/clean approach is used effectively) are not worthy of merit, but there are definitely some slips and slides here. The most aggravating track on the record is called “B.B.N.C.” which quite literally feels ruined by it's gimmick of a cellphone scammer. I will say that if you're looking for a mix of goth rock and heavy industrial with an almost melodic death metal flair to the vocals, you can't really go wrong with this. It reminds me a little of early Blood Stain Child (are they even still a band?) and that's a good thing. I also need to mention that this disc sounds a bit different from The Grand Turmoil and comes across with more of a bite.

Remember that this version of the band's debut is different from the initial release and may come off better or worse than that version, depending on taste. Some of you might feel that the original mix was better, but I can't confirm or deny that, not having heard it. I will say that even though the record is pretty short, it does feel a bit longer than it does due to all of the different ideas utilized within each track. As the record literally overflows with differing structures, there exists a brand of substance that you just won't hear in similar bands. Perhaps this might even come across as a heavier version of industrial era Linkin Park, which is not a problem for me, because even if Neroargento is going for something like Chester Bennington with the cleans (who actually always wanted to emulate Ministry during their With Sympathy days – did you know?) the rest of the album features so much more bite than anything I've heard from the experimental alternative pop rockers in years. I'd definitely recommend this one over that style of music, even though I am admittedly a fan of some of their music as well and do not recognize boundaries when it comes to music. Perhaps one of my favorite tracks on the album would be it's closer “Blessed By A Curse” where we get a nice bit helping of frightening dark vocal tones, something that I feel could have been utilized better on the album as a whole. Even so, you're never going to hear anything like that on a Linkin Park album. Speaking of, the band just jumped the shark and is getting hammered by people for putting out a very lackluster track and this might be just what you need to cleanse your palette and get the fucking taste out of your mouth. As a secondary defense, I'll also state that NeroArgento's clean lines are not as whiny as Chester Bennington's often come off. We can be rather thankful for that. I was on the fence during the first listen of this recording, but sometimes it's the second listen that really allows the material to sink in. I would certainly recommend it to those looking for a good mix of many genres, set to a bouncy and brackish musical backbone.

(10 Tracks, 34:00)


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