Blacklevel Embassy: New Veteran – album review

cd-dp-booklet.pdfBlacklevel Embassy – New Veteran (Battle Worldwide Recordings)

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Blacklevel Embassy describe their new album as ‘light-switch, epilepsy-inducing face melters’. Adrian Bloxham has been listening to it for Louder Than War and is convinced it will be one of the albums of 2013.

“Rock’n’Roll has been and gone.” So say Black Level Embassy, repeatedly, on ‘Old Revolt’, while making the kind of noise that makes me smile and want to break things. Everything is there for a reason, that little burst of feedback on the end of ‘Viking Tattoo’, just perfect. The spoken words at the start of ‘Tony’, perfect. Do I need to elaborate? They have just toured with Shellac and their music reflects that kind of feel. Hard, sharp and nothing, but nothing is wasted.

These songs are constructed precisely and each is a pile of sounds, stretched, moulded and formed into something remarkable. There are a lot of spaces, a lot of times when the music is just a whine of feedback or a steady drum beat and then there are as many places that are a punch to the head of noise, a slab of guitar or a crash of bass and drum. It’s so tight it’s stretched out. The starting points I suppose are the stop start stutter of classic Fugazi and the massive guitar slams of Steve Albini, but this is really clutching at straws, this album is light years ahead of those two, just moving on its own.

 

It’s the quiet moments that give this album an edge; they have a sparseness that feeds into the monoliths of glorious massive sound. It is quite simply a perfect balance between calm and a raging full on storm.

The vocal is a powerful but flawed high classic alt-rock sound, and the spoken word vocal over the drunk sounding ‘Tony’ works just as well. The band play together as if they are welded, a machine pressed into one entity, cogs and pistons turning and pumping.

I really need to stress just how good this album is; it’s excellent, it really needs you to hear it and once you do you will want to play it again and again and again. A complete and utter triumph.

Blacklevel Embassy can be found on Facebook here.

All words by Adrian Bloxham. More work by Adrian on Louder Than War can be found here.

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