Black Spiders

This Savage Land

Written by: EW on 09/12/2013 11:28:57

"Let there be drums /Let there be guitars/Let the mayhem ensue". No, not a requisite for my Sunday afternoons, but the rollicking opening to Black Spiders' second album, "This Savage Land". As befitting their name, which is total in meeting all requirements for a clichéd rock band monicker, the music of Black Spiders is similarly wholesome in its appeal, combining an up-tempo stress-free take on a variety of giants (Sabbath, Motörhead, Fu Manchu, Soundgarden, AC/DC, Kyuss) while lacking much of a unique identity of their own. Think of "This Savage Land" as the album that might be released by a group winning the rock equivalent of 'The X Factor' - capably produced, chock full of dynamics and easy to enjoy, but lacking in that magic touch, that x factor you could say (inferences to the TV show purely accidental) to suggest there is anything great at work here. It has been said rock n' roll ain't noise pollution; that it may be, but it sure as hell ain't supposed to be so safe and wholesome like this.

Once opener "Knock You Out" has passed that tongue-in-cheek introduction, it is down to the serious business of rocking, which Black Spiders do while barely breaking sweat for the remainder of the record, save for a Foo Fighter-esque touch of melancholy in "Put Love In It's Place". "Stick it to the Man" touches the blues in a relentless sub-3 minute piece that encapsulates everything about the band. "Balls" takes the simplicity of Airbourne's AC/DC-isms and adds more (moar?) cowbell, "Teen Age Knife Gang" is formed around a riff structure Motörhead would happily call their own, while "Creatures" closes off with an odd excerpt of character discussion regarding the song's lyrical themes but which sounds akin to an outtake from a cheap Pirates of the Caribbean rip-off. Rounding things off succinctly, closer "Sleepy Demon" heralds the spirit of Sabbath in a chugging bass-driven lead riff - of all the influences heard across the album this is perhaps the most strident but the means in which Black Spiders execute this is to strip out the darkness of the Brummie foursome for a patently positive feel, thereby losing much of the essence of why Sabbath will remain more revered than Spiders of the Black variety.

These multiple references ensure the album goes down well from a first listen but the end result feels like a tribute act to the genre at large; good noise for a gathering of guitar loving fiends but not so in the critical stakes. Every generation has an act to fulfil the public obligations of a summertime rock band and be held as the poster boys for an undead genre; Black Spiders might well be it for our current climes but it doesn't hold back the suspicion this is based on their attempts to appeal to all and sundry rather than through any game-changing abilities.


Download: Knock You Out, Sleepy Demon
For The Fans Of: Airbourne, Fu Manchu
Listen: Facebook

Release Date 02.09.2013
Doublecross Records

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