Black Metal Box - "Black Metal Box" (CD)
"Black Metal Box" track listing:
3. In The Eye
7. No Fucking Good
Reviewed by EdgeoftheWorld on October 6, 2009
Ever since Pantera created their brand of heavy mid-tempo metal on albums like "Vulgar Display Of Power," it's become one of the standard formats of the genre. Sledgehammer riffs, growled vocals with moments of melody, and thick, heavy drums and bass are the order of the day — and they're exactly what you get on Black Metal Box's self-titled debut disc. No, the sound isn't the most original thing I've heard, but it rocks hard and does have a few pleasant surprises.
The disc begins well with "Fallen," showcasing Chris "Jax" Lawson's ability to alternate between clean and growled vocals. Guitarists Kevin Mantooth and Steve Ulibarri's riffs on this one are thick and heavy, if lacking a little melodic variety. What sets this and the rest of the album apart from many of the other Pantera followers is the subtle keyboard playing by Reiter S.
The second track, "Guilty," offers another example of how this band is helped by the addition of keyboards, with Reiter S adding a subtle warmth to the almost gentle clean intro and just a hint of extra bombast when things get more electrified.
My main problem with the album is that, with the exception of a handful of speedier tracks ("In The Eye," "Separate," and "Revolution,") everything seems to cruise along at the same mid-tempo slog. That has the effect of making some of the songs seem the same, despite discernible differences in the guitars and drums. That isn't helped by the fact that a lot of Lawson's vocal parts are very similar to each other.
Despite that, I have to say that I never really got bored with the record and found that I was often listening extra carefully to pick up Scott "Machine Gun" Smith's drum parts. Black Metal Box may not have created the most imaginative album out there, but it's a solid slab of metal with a few interesting surprises.
Highs: Solid playing all around, with the speedier "Separate" and "In The Eye" standing out.
Lows: An over-reliance on mid-tempo tunes.
Bottom line: Good post-Pantera metal — if relying a little too much on mid-tempo tunes.
Get more info including news, reviews, interviews, links, etc. on our Black Metal Box band page.