How The Rest Was Lost
posted on 6/2009 By:
How the Rest Was Lost is the second album from Phoenix Arizona’s Black Hell (presumably named after one of those lovely 95 degree nights in Phoenix). Black Hell play rumbling, psychedelic tinged doom, that is ethereal, yet surprisingly hard-hitting.
At the risk of giving this album the kiss of death, I must say that Black Hell’s sound bears some resemblance to that of The Sword: Guitarist/vocalist, Frank Davenport, with his high, reedy voice sounds quite similar to J. D. Cronise and both bands have a penchant for bluesy guitar melodies and galloping riffs. While The Sword’s songwriting is generally compact and straightforward, Black Hell has a tendency to stretch out and jam, giving the songs a loose, spacey feel. The “spacey” feel is reinforced by the song titles and lyrics all of which, save “Lycanthropy”, follow a cosmic theme.
The first half of the album is comprised of three comparatively brief numbers, at around six minutes a piece. The pacing of these tracks, while certainly not blazingly fast, is fairly lively. The riffs are, if not brutal, certainly heavy handed. The most aggressive track of the lot is “Lycanthropy”, with its insistent chugging riffs, it is the closest thing to speed metal on the album. The proceedings take a more contemplative turn with the thirteen minute instrumental “Planet Maker”. Evoking the vastness of space and the stark landscapes of lifeless planets, the heavy riffs take a back seat on this sprawling track, allowing the interplay of the rhythm section to drive the song while the guitars weave in subtle atmospheric melodies. The ten minute track, “Celestial Conquest” ups the pace and aggression for the first three minutes or so, but then moves into more psychedelic territory in the middle section, before closing with some lumbering doom and a feedback fade out.
Black Hell is a capable doom band, and How the Rest Was Lost is an enjoyable if not always engaging listen. The band's riffs, while always serviceable, fall just short of truly memorable, and the vocals are not terribly strong. Still, the band’s otherworldly atmosphere and melodic sensibility should provide enough of a hook to engender repeated listens.
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