Earlier this year, I streamed a track as well as covered the newest album by Black Sites. Those who remember, Exile is a potential album of the year for me, if not at least in the top couple. After a little digging, I found their previous record, the debut album from two years prior titled In Monochrome. It’s a pretty far cry from being as great as Exile, but it definitely holds a warm enough flame in its own merits.
For those familiar, something to know right off the bat is that this effort is far less traditional or “classic” sounding in build. The album cover may give that away, plus it’s a bit more modern in sound and uses more progressive tactics. For some, that’s a good thing, but truth be told, the first fifteen minutes were quite tough to get through. Indeed, a slow start is made from nothing memorable until the fourth track titled “Burning Away The Day.” It’s got some really beefy hooks, and it packs a lot of energy.
Regarding the rest, it’s thankfully written a lot better and showcases the musicians’ skill decently. To say the least, there are definitely some surprises thrown in. “Locked Out, Shut Down” is the heaviest Black Sites has ever gone. I don’t recall any tracks that use harsh vocals outside of this one, and the riffs come close to landing on thrash soil. I also really like “Hunter Gatherer” because of its slow and steady minor tones taking the forefront. In Monochrome ends on a softer note with “The Tide,” a beautiful acoustic ballad that picks up the pace towards the end. The vocal harmonies help it go out with a bang!
While this may not have been as impressive as I had wished, it’s likely due to me letting the most recent effort over-shadow it. But when push comes to shove, it’s a worthwhile disc that I highly recommend to those who like progressive metal that isn’t too ridiculous. Definitely a grower, and if you can get through the beginning, you’re set!
In Monochrome was released on February 17th, 2017 through Mascot Records. You can find it right here through the label.