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Black Elk - Black Elk - 2006 - Crucial Blast

Track Listing:
1. Toggle
2. My Lil'
3. Toss You to the Wolves
4. Eyebone
5. Elk Takes Night
6. When I'm a Ghost
7. Dylan Klebold
8. Baby Liver
9. Cuddles
10. Who Knew?
In this era of haphazard genre creation and hyper-classification, Black Elk were bound to occur. On their eponymous debut, this Portland outfit flounces through 10 tracks that evoke nearly ever descriptive prefix of rock from the new millennium: aggro, hardcore, destructo, noise, post—and a few gems from their press material—‘tarpit’, ‘noise fury’, and so on. Nearly every scrap of modern underground rock’s neuroses are combined here, with a result that is both convincing and confusing.

Although Black Elk can be put into the California avant-rock scene, they don’t especially fit. Far more listenable than the likes of the ‘noise merchant’ Locusts, they also churn and flail in a way that is too harsh for These Arms Are Snakes and are far more serious than the tongue-in-cheek Hella. ‘Black Elk’s songs instead trundle onwards without any particular direction in mind, sampling each influence as they come across it.

To put it in more concrete terms, Black Elk are a noisy bunch of young rockers with a flair for metallic tuning and a punk atmosphere. Many metal fans may not find much to identify with here, but at some point or another ‘Black Elk’ is redolent of Mastodon, (new) Dillinger Escape Plan, and even Today is The Day. The press material’s reference points of The Melvins and Black Flag are fairly accurate, since Black Elk are as rough ‘n’ tumble and raucously tuned as is legal in the States, but they are far from those groups’ lofty heights of influence and inspiration.

And at some point (which was passed long ago), name-dropping becomes fruitless and Black Elk must be experienced for oneself. On the one hand, they have enough songwriting punch and quirkiness to strike a positive chord with those who may least expect it; on the other, they have yet to harness the charismatic intangibles that make noisy rock ‘n’ roll so addictive. And while Black Elk have a great potential to succeed, so far it's that second hand that is more heavily weighted.



Rating: 2.5



--Etiam
Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: BLACK ELK
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REVIEWER DATE
S/TBlack Elk
2006
Etiam11/21/2007


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