Released: February 2017 / Self-Release
Rating: 3.0 / 5.0
Reviewer: John Haseltine
Black Emerald is a power trio from Reading. The UK, not Pennsylvania. I believe this to be their debut album after much searching for info. There is a bit of info that states the band has been in some sort of formed state in one way or another for 13 years. Be it Black Emerald, or the guys simply finding their way to this point, it is unclear as there really is not much info to be had. For reviewing and introduction purposes, this is essential. Just for the music, it is not.
The guys dub themselves ‘accidental prog’. What? What does this even mean? Falling upon my deaf ears, I do not get the prog part. At least overall. Musically, their sound is a bit all over the map. Generally speaking, maybe making up a new genre name is fitting for Black Emerald as there really is no one sub-genre that suits them.
Pulling from the styles of prog, southern rock, doom, stoner, hard rock, blues, metal, and thrash to name a few, is where they have come up with the ‘accidental prog’ term. It seems that they are just a band that has a mix of influences. This is fine and dandy when blended properly.
This is a fine debut that basically has an overall hard rock feel to it. Call it what you will, but to me it rolls along like your basic garage metal/rock band using nuances of styles that they like as to not come off as redundant. And track wise, it does seem to work for them.
The songs are for the most part all pretty catchy in their own way. The album is hard and heavy for the sake of argument with plenty of great guitar solos in the mix. So glad they have those in there. That is something most new bands try to avoid for some reason.
Don’t let the first listen of this album fool you. It is definitely a creeper album if you know what I mean. It needs proper time for digestion. Once you allow that to happen, you will be able to properly enjoy what Black Emerald are trying to pull off here. Album highlights include, “One For The Road, Voodoo Princess, and Jonestown”.
01. Hell Can’t Handle All Of Us
02. Life Of Anxiety (featuring Craig McBrearty of Gutlocker)
03. Dr. Stein
05. One For The Road
06. Voodoo Princess (featuring Andy Gunn of Remnant)
07. Drown In The River
08. Sculptures To The Sky
09. Figure On A Barbed Wire Cross
Connor Shortt- Drums
Edd Higgs – Guitar / Vocals
Simon Hall – Bass / Vocals