Hailing from Seattle, Washington, which is what seems to be a mecca of some of the most interesting and abrasive sounding metal going today, BlackQueen has released their celestial voyage of an LP entitled The Destructive Cycle on November 22nd.
Though this may be a first exposure to the band, the manifestation of the group has been a long time coming. Formed in 1998, founded by original bassist Pete Jay in San Francisco California, BlackQueen gained a rather consistent following with their adventurous music and live show in the bay area coming up alongside bands like Ludicra, Weakling, Impaled, and Exhumed. Bassist Pete Jay then moved to Seattle for educational purposes, but upon finishing his education, he decided it was time to get the band back together. BlackQueen started circulating the circuit once again. After releasing a handful of releases, including a short horror film, the group secured another lineup and began working on The Destructive Cycle.
The best way I can describe the sound of this LP is a combination of Death and Black Metal, with certain elements of Progressive Metal thrown in. I find the music to be quite comparable to a combination of somewhere between the band Atheist in terms of complexity, bands like Exhumed or Morbid Angel in terms of intensity, and lastly, with traces of a group such as Opeth in terms of variation and atmosphere. The vocals go back and forth between high fry style screams found common in most black metal styles and a low death metal growl. Though in a song like “Infinitesimal,” the vocals showcase some baritone, almost monk-like clean singing, which adds to the atmosphere of the song.
While there are some long complex tunes such as the final two tracks “Calefactorum Occulta” and “The Sorcerer’s Jian”, the latter clocking in a just a little over 11 minutes, BlackQueen reminds us earlier in the album that they are capable of writing short and to the point, borderline ‘tech-death’ style songs such as “Needle Grinding Well” which is arguably the most intense and fast-paced song on the album. What I find is that the first half of the record will appeal to first time listeners, and the latter half of the album will be for the ones that stick around to the end and hear what the band has to offer. While a taste of their adventurous songwriting is displayed in the opening track “Feed The Worm” (If you exclude the short intro instrumental conveniently coined as the title track), BlackQueen further expands upon this in the latter half of the album. A common theme is that they all start with some sort of cinematic sound-byte. Shortly after, they take you through twists and turns with multiple riffs and interesting layers that serve their respective purposes and don’t overstep their boundaries.
In summary, I’m impressed with how cohesive the album sounds as a whole. It was smart that BlackQueen kept this album at six songs for the sake of their lengthy track times that take up more than half the album. They do a pretty good job of keeping the listener intrigued and on their toes. The atmosphere is very cold, dark, mysterious, and all the while exciting and intense. For fans of any of the other bands mentioned in the article, such as Ludicra, Weakling, Impaled, Exhumed, Morbid Angel, Atheist, and Opeth, I would recommend giving this album a listen. It falls quite in line with any of those bands, and I think this album and specifically this band would find itself right at home on someone’s playlist of that elk.
Feed The Worm
The Socerer’s Jian