27 Oct 2016

Just In Time For Halloween: Black Pope's Sinister New Single Makes Rock 'n' Seem Good Again

Rock 'n' roll romanticists hark back through rose tinted specs to the seventies, with their Lead Zeppelins and their Sabbath Blacks, and often overlook contemporary bands trying to do the same thing. You like The Stooges, why don't you like Kings of Leon? You like The Cramps, why don't you like Pvris? Why don't you like any of the modern day rock bands, huh? Well, for me, the answer can be summarised in two syllables; danger.

A lotta what passes off as mainstream rock, to me, seems so dry, passionless, and above all, harmless. Nothing could be more dull than a Biffy Clyro headline set or a new Queens of the Stone Age album (don't even get me started on the bloody Eagles of bloody Death Metal). Crisp studio production and a lack of spontaneity are very much something that does nothing but sterilise rock 'n' roll and its similar subgenres. But anyway, I've been routing through my emails for hours, and I've found a band that go against everything that the copycat KOL bands and Biffy soundalikes have managed to convince me is the norm. That band is Black Pope, who are from Cork, and whilst their stuff's really nothing new - a pastiche of garage, psychobilly and classic rock - their music is volatile, vitriolic and above all dangerous.

This is a single review so I'll focus on what's important here; the work of art I'm about to put on a pedestal. One Shot Kill is their Halloweentime offering, and it's got it all; it has a subtle piano part, to offer the same sense of claustrophobia The Stooges offer on their debut, the menacing undead croon of Lux Interior (with adequate dead animal screams) and the intimidating riffage of The Sonics. The Stooges influence is particularly prominent - which it probably should be, because we all know The Stooges are the greatest band of all time - as outta control guitars ruck with John Cale's fiery brand of proto-punk piano to create something that really does sound on edge.

Utilising cliches for your aural pleasure, the gnostic garage rockers put across the almost Nick Cave-like narrative of the lethal female protagonist. "See you there, with bleach blonde hair" the frontman croons; One Shot Kill is your traditional murder ballad, cranked up to 11 and spat back at you in the form of a catchy nugget of omnipotent garage thunder.

And you could do much worse than rummage around the band's other releases; if Iggy Pop were dead, their stonking 2015 track Atom Bomb would bring him back to life. But he isn't dead, so it just provides the human race with some brilliant sounds to play whilst you forget how bad Green Day's new album is. This review might be full of hyperbole, but with a sound like this, it's easy to see why.


(Words: Cal Cashin)