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Poisonblack
Drive

Company: Hype
Release: 2011
Genre: Gothic
Reviewer: EC

  • This band should be huge



  • Poisonblack are an odd breed aren't they? These Fins have been around long enough to be veterans of the sport and at this point may be approaching the proverbial crossroads. I was such a huge fan of Sentenced, led by current Poisonblack vocalist Ville Laihiala, and really hated to see them go. At the same time Poisonblack have been a welcome addition, now on record five and still digging up graves at the stroke of midnight.

    This band has that down and dirty groove that Metallica was looking for in the 90s. Martin Popoff once wrote that Sentenced's "Down" record was the album Metallica should have made. In a lot of ways Poisonblack carries that burden, constantly making albums that are heavy, fresh, energetic and downright moody considering the amount of goth and grime. From the heavy handed albums like "Dead Heavy Day" and "Lust Stained Despair" the band has vaulted into the trenches with a metallic sound that is really hard to describe. The gothic signature is there with Laihiala's charismatic voice and the keys are perfectly placed to one-up Paradise Lost. The heavy groove numbers until now were almost stoner in nature, big swooping down tuned grooves that just pummel and pound like Corrosion Of Conformity, Metallica, Dearly Beheaded (a blast from the past) and even hip Volbeat. But it was so often interrupted by strange song structures and chorus parts that seemed to be so similar that one felt confused on which song was which (at least I did). Perhaps it is this element that confused both fan and label, after record four the band was dropped from heavyweight Century Media and now finds "Drive" on Hype Records and looking at a Scandinavian release only as of May 2011.

    Regardless of label push the band have paired with the one man that can really hammer home this band's vision in a modern setting; Tue Madsen. The band traveled to Denmark and recorded at Antfarm Studios under mastermind Madsen (Dark Tranquillity, Mnemic, Ektomorf). This new found sound is the perfect fit to bring out the brush strokes in Poisonblack's creation. "Drive" is one of the better albums (along with "Lust Stained") that does a great job with combining the blue collar metal strokes with the surreal and sometimes atmospheric vocals of Laihiala. Songs like "Pistonhead" and "A Good Day For The Crows" is bone shaking heavy with tons of southern grooves that recalls prime COC, Down and most recently Motorjesus. While those songs shake and roll other cuts like "From Now-Here to Nowhere" are downright dismal in writing, a chilling gothic venture that sounds like Laihiala and the boys stepped off of Sentenced's "Crimson" recording session. I love the downward spiral songs that leave you stirring for the blues, songs like "The Dead End Stream" (preaching everything dies) and "Scars" (perfect for radio today).

    I am still out on whether "Drive" is the best of Poisonblack's discography. With this release coming at the onslaught of summer nights and beautiful weather I find this sort of album goes well with the frosty mug of winter. Nevertheless I'm enjoying it and really like the Madsen/Finland combination. What a perfect pairing for this sort of doom swept novel and all backed up by lead-heavy riffs and taunted by the mournful cries of suffering and decay. Damn this band should be huge.


    About this Writer:
    Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.

    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: POISONBLACK
    CD
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    A Dead Heavy DayPoisonblack
    2008
    Raising Iron3/6/2009
    DrivePoisonblack
    2011
    Eric Compton6/16/2011
    EscapexstacyPoisonblack
    2003
    Eric Compton2/27/2003
    Lust Stained DespairPoisonblack
    2006
    Eric Compton8/20/2006


    ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: POISONBLACK

    No Summary reviews currently exist for them.


    ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: POISONBLACK
    INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE


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