"some music was meant to stay underground..."

70000 Tons of Metal - The World's Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise

Black Metal Box - "Black Metal Box" (CD)

Black Metal Box - "Black Metal Box" CD cover image

"Black Metal Box" track listing:

1. Fallen
2. Guilty
3. In The Eye
4. Face
5. Separate
6. Control
7. No Fucking Good
8. Push
9. Descending
10. Bitch
11. Revolution

Reviewed by on October 6, 2009

"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. "

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.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)