Black River

Black N Roll

Armoury Records 2010

Featuring members of Behemoth and Dimmu Borgir, the Polish rockin' supergroup Black River belts out thunderous rock with heavy grooves.  Fat stoner riffs tinged with a hint of blues get the ball rollin' on the album's opener, Barf Bag.  Warbling and screamed vocals and a sense of fun erase any thoughts that this music is anything other than a fun jam.  Up next is the driving anthem, Isabel with its balls-out rock riffs and scorched highway chorus.  The riffs at times remind me of Clutch at their most basic rock roots.  A bluesy rock Danzig reference creeps out of the opening notes of Lucky In Hell though the gruff vocals try to throw me off the scent.  The track ends on a bit of an Alice in Chains riffing section.  The title track punks things up a bit.  Breaking the Wall drops the gears back down for some chugging stoner doom mashed up against some Alice in Chains emotional solemnity which at times feels a little forced.  That is the case with Too Far Away whose main sections remind me of a less gay White Zombie.  Luckily the chorus do a little to rescue the track.  More Danzig surfaces as Morphine begins but once again, those rough vocals try to hide this reference from my ears.  The song flexes its muscles as thick guitars roll in like an 18-wheeler on a desert highway.  The CD finishes off with a "bonus" track which was featured on their debut album called Free Man.  A dark melody dances like a sultry vixen within the groovy riffs.  At times I hear some early Tool within the traditional metal song structure.  Black N Roll is a fun album that is an obvious outlet for unrealized ambitions with the artists other projects.  Black River's enjoyable style also feels a bit shallow to me.  I like it when I hear it but It doesn't call me back for repeated listens.  I could also do without the forced feeling that linger after some of the tracks finish.