BLACK SPACE RIDERS
Amoretum Vol. 2
BlackSpaceRecords/ CargoRecords/ RippleMusic
The next album from this incredibly ambitious group of Germans, we have another full hour of music to go with what was already a tremendous batch of music released just a few months ago. I haven’t really had the chance to explore this beyond an initial listen, so let us take some time to discover it.
“Before My Eyes” begins the record with a surprisingly dirty feel, almost like a sort of thick stoner crunch. On further expectation, it feels like an evil shade of blues. The vocal edge also comes off quite harsh, which is not what I would have expected, but will certainly not turn away. It’s a heavy track, a metal track and I’m fine with that. Holy crap, I think I also caught a few drum blasts on this one. The next song is “Love” (repeated a bunch of times) and comes off rather odd, to say the least. What in the world is the frontman doing? It feels like he’s channeling Mr. Bungle, but if Mike Patton was making fun of a special needs person that just happens to lose his marbles towards the end. This one is going to have to grow on me a bit and is more than I might have ever expected. Though I’ll admit that the animal in me prefers the quick blasts of repeated “love!” featured here. There’s also a rather nice melody node that comes as a bit of a shock considering the material that it has been sandwiched inside of. The song is already growing on me. Are those keyboards? Moving right along, we have “Walls Away” which seems to bring the mood down just a little. I’m thinking U2 as of right now. Yes, this one’s quite melancholy but it builds into a sort of post-rock vibe, which climaxes in a shoegazing solo. These guys just keep getting better. What’s next?
The fourth cut is “Sláinte” which begins as a sort of folkish punk song and carries off into a vibe that feels almost atmospheric at times. “Assimilating Love” throws punk elements into the mix, though also touches into metal which adds a rough and gritty edge to a band that should be known throughout the globe at this point. From punk, we move to a brand of chill hop or trip hop, if you will. Not in the vein of rapping as you might expect from the “hop” I added to that genre tag. Listen to some early Tricky and you’ll see what I mean. From this however, we move right into new wave stylings, almost channeling David Bowie. It’s incredible that trip/chill hop can movie right into something like Bowie, but that’s what “In Our Garden” seems to be able to accomplish. “Leaves Of Life” seems to build on the new wave influences, almost reminding me a bit of Depeche Mode albeit with a meatier vibe towards the end, until it goes tribal. Is there anything that these gentlemen can’t accomplish? They’ve already traversed more musical territory on half of an album than most mainstream artists (and Grammy winners) will do throughout the entirety of their musical careers.
Then we have “Body Move” which makes me question my sanity. What is it, actually? From observation, it sounds like a slightly melancholy acid trip at a dance club. Imagine that you’re about to bust a move, but you’re on a really bad bender and everything feels kinda, well… down. So you’re moving to the dance floor, but the world around you appears to be quite gloomy. That’s the best way to describe it. “Take Me To The Stars” also has a slightly melancholy vibe as well, especially when the chorus hits. If you haven’t already realized it by now, the record has taken an unexpected turn from heavier and warmer landscapes to a much cooler and almost uncomfortable level of being. That being said, I still find myself enjoying the experience. The next song we have here is “Ch Ch Ch Ch Pt.1” and I’m denoting that it is also called “The Ugly Corruptor.” As far as the sound is concerned, it is something of an atmosphere which is buffered with a didgeridoo, tribal drum rhythms and light whispering. It’s a meditation in all respects, with the “ch ch ch ch” sound being used literally as a form of vocalization. Electronics soon pick up in the mix as the winds carry us right into heavier material in “Ch Ch Ch Ch Pt.2” which is also called “Living In My Dream.” It is interesting that they use the “ch ch ch ch” sound in the piece, which can sound corny, but the chorus portion is done so well that I absolutely can’t dislike this one either. Melodies flow perfectly with said chorus, in addition to some admittedly rather trippy guitar bits, which end all too abruptly, unfortunately. “Chain Reaction” comes next with some odd keyboard twinkling, which mixes stoner rock and new wave together in a wonderful manner. “No Way” comes next, with a rather unexpected approach in post-rock melding with fiercely harsh, almost binging on DSBM vocal aesthetics. There’s a chorus section here that sounds like it was ripped from another song, so this is something of an odd experiment. It’s certainly bizarre to say the very least. A slight air rolls in, moving into the final track which is by far the longest on the recording. It is entitled, “The Wait Is Never Over” and switches between light atmospherics, heavy psychedelics and chunky mounds of metal. The album ends very much in the way that the song began, with an airy soundscape.
After having taken this experience, I am at a loss for words. Once again, the amount of musical territory that Black Space Riders have traversed on this album is incredible. It is easy to see that the material here is less accessible than that of the first volume and is certainly the result of many musical experiments. I know for sure that there are musicians out there who would never release some of these tracks to the public, but it is good that they have, because some of these experiments proved to be quite awesome to the ear and I feel that you will find a similar outlook when you give the disc a well-needed listen. Black Space Riders might not be the kind of act that the world wants, but they are the kind of act that I feel the world NEEDS. It’s a gift to receive two wonderful albums from these gentlemen in the span of one year, and an even greater gift to note that each release is remarkable in it’s own right. I know that it is going to be a while yet, but Amoretum Vol. 2 will be well worth the wait and might end up being one of your favorite albums of the year. The collection as a whole is definitely on my list for 2018’s best recordings and is further proof that we don’t deserve these guys. Let’s start getting the word out there, folks. Are you with me? Let’s make BSR bigger than Ghost!
Purchase HERE (Bandcamp)