Black Severn, who appropriately hail from Bristol, invite you to hear their second opus, Wild Interior, which comes hot on the heels of their self-titled debut, released in March 2016. At 34 minutes in length, it feels more like an EP than a full album, but Black Severn certainly pack a punch.
It’s nearly impossible to describe the music, a dark claustrophobic nightmare that feels like it’s playing out in your head rather than in the room. While not sounding at all like other progressive bands, it’s clear that this duo has long eschewed regular song structures. Each song has a different feel to the last, despite the overall sludgy feel to the album. With bass guitar on only two of the album’s seven tracks, the music can feel quite thin at times, but this is deliberate, making the album more uncomfortably intimate.
Opener Bobby Lee greets the listener with a plodding industrial sound, like wandering through a haunted factory. He’ll Take Everything steps up the tempo with an Indian sounding banjo riff. The drums really shine on this track, captivating the listener. The longest track, The Eye, is surely the stand-out, pitch-black through and through with repeating guitar motifs that will make you feel as though you are stuck in a dungeon, unable to escape.
Honey on the Blade is a bit of a break for the band, a slow blues track with drumming only partially used. Because the song is quieter, it is easier to listen to and process the lyrics, and the repeated mantra of “Honey on the Blade” is quite striking. Laust meanwhile contributes a short guitar improvisation, not even a minute long, before Dustwun starts off quietly, relying on a heavy but slow drum beat. Tension is raised throughout the six-minute running time until the crescendo in the final minute. Edge of the Frame is a refreshing take on the blues genre, with instruments abstracted so far from their regular sound, it’s almost as if the song isn’t actually taking place. The percussion is not played on the drums, and the lead guitar sounds as if it’s being supplied from a different room. All in all, quite a mind-boggling experience!
Over in just half an hour, this strange beast will leave you gasping for more, despite its punishing atmosphere. It’s exhilarating to discover new bands who’ve eked out their own sound in a world where it feels like everything has already been done. While I’ve tried my best to describe what’s on the record, you’ll have to listen to it yourself to understand what I’m talking about. Fortunately, you can do so with the Bandcamp link below. A truly original bit of work, I wonder where these guys are headed?
01. Bobby Lee (5:29)
02. He’ll Take Everything (2:37)
03. The Eye (8:24)
04. Honey on the Blade (4:45)
05. Laust (0:46)
06. Dustwun (6:18)
07. Edge of the Frame (5:55)
Total Time – 34:14
Pete Webber – Guitar, Banjo, Vocals
Jack Carver – Drums & Percussion
Billy Fuller – Bass (tracks 2 & 7)
Record Label: Independent
Country of Origin: U.K.
Date of Release: 14th April 2017