Always a Six, Never A Nine
Crucial Blast Records 2008
Post hardcore purveyors of crushing intensity, Black Elk, return noisy as hell and angry at the world. Dissonant squeals and bizarre tempo changes frequent opener My Last Shred of Decency. Hospital provides a little shelter from the upcoming anger storm as it begins but that is soon washed away by amped-up and aggressive Fugazi art rock. Beefy bass guitar melds with a high-pitched and beautiful melody for the song’s middle only to collapse into massive thunderous riffs and blustery vocals from Tom Glose. Pig Crazy is more angular with shimmering notes and disharmonic notes charged up with a delirious bass line. The song stumbles like a person slowly losing their grip on their own sanity while moments of melodic clarity pop in occasionally. Raw vocals and lurching riffs achieve an anti-melodic unity on Stab. She Pulled Machete is slower and more methodical though no less dangerous with calm yet purposeful vocals and bubbling guitars that continue to build and reach a shrill crescendo of swirling finger tapping insanity. The album finishes with Winter Formal whose beat and main riff loops and rolls over on itself sort of like Pink Floyd’s Astronomy Domine though with dissonant aggression injected like steroids into a pro baseball player. A perilously detached guitar solo shines above the din as the song finishes out its cacophonous existence. Always a Six, Never a Nine is a purposeful and driven piece of enraged music that grabs the listener leaves them fuming and irate. Portland’s Black Elk has once again given birth to a noisy and irate slab of dissonant art rock. This album will smash you like a car crash leaving only splintered bones and regret in its aftermath.