Black Crow King    

To Pay The Debt Of Nature

BadGod Records 2012

A mysterious band whose origins are as obscure as the music featured on their debut album.  Six songs of dirgeful guitars, oppressive atmosphere and soulcrushing heaviness.  A shrill gong and a solitary, fuzzy guitar announce the arrival of I Crow.  Deep, infernal grumblings and funeral strums across the guitar strings create a mood that is suffocating and bleak without being melancholic or sad.  Strange notes that feed back and pierce your skull rise and fall within the loose framework of the song.  At times the songs aimless, as the riffs just meander and the structure is so minimal, but this is an album that revolves around overall effect.  The Shadow Falls creeps in with ominous organ and sinister riffs.  The vocals seem crisper and deadlier as they rasp like fingernails across a dry tombstone.  The drums pound away like a zombie on a door, just relentlessly without much true timing.  The riffs have a reverb quality to them and the riffs sound like pillars in a giant cathedral.  It's almost like listening to a guitar-based version of Neptune Towers.  The reverb effect is honed to perfection on Vengeance which borders on sounding like the two poles in the Phantasm movies.  The whole song is like a gorgon charging in slow motion, a feeling of dread crosses your mind and your body flees before the riffs.  A wall of squeals and beats crashes as the song ends.  Being a one-man band it is not surprising to hear programmed drums which at times are pretty evident, but in the end I am not distracted by their appearance.  This is an album that centers around a crushingly oppressive mood and nebulous song structures.  And in that regard it is a successful album.  However, I have to be in the right mood to listen to Black Crow King as the music blots out all other influences and smothers me with a funeral atmosphere.