At long last the third instalment of Ginger Wildheart’s relentless noise campaign is here, and I can guarantee it will physically blow your mind clean out of your body. ‘Dark Black’ is as intense, brutal, and face-meltingly loud as I’d hoped it would be, and I had high hopes considering the involvement of Scott Lee Andrews (Exit International, Jaws of Death). The album features a plethora of incredible musicians, including Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad, Devin Townsend Project), Phil Campbell (Motorhead), Givvi Flynn (The Dowling Poole, The Wildhearts) and Jon Poole (Cardiacs, The Wildhearts).
The influences on this record are sublimely combined; noise, extreme metal and punk fuse together in a glorious conglobulation of chaos. There is barely time to breathe throughout the entirety of it, aside from the six second opening track, a spoken word piece about the monster that is depression. This is a running theme throughout the album, with poignant lyrics creating a landscape of existential anxiety, dread, and frustration. As someone with experience in these matters, I would say that Ginger and crew have done a harrowingly spot-on job of grappling mental health battles into sonic form.
As soon as Authenticity kicks in, the ruthless violence of these sonic battles begin, peppered with addictive hooks and epic choruses which will have you screaming along for days. The height of the hooks is undoubtedly Irritant, which boasts a terrifically blunt chorus of ‘Fuck off you cunt you are an irritant’. As Andrews himself professed, even the most optimistic person you know would have a hard time stopping themselves from belting along to this mantra.
Despite the reigning discord, there are brilliant melodies in Dark Black, like satanic interpretations of pop; Skint and Hate push perfectly tuned dynamics through the heaviness. This is what makes me want to listen to this album over and over again. The final track Deterioration will leave any distortion cravings satisfied, its slow pace grinding this shit-storm to a close.
This is certainly a love it or hate it record. The extremes that take place here leave no room for mild opinion, and I’m sure Ginger wanted it that way. Personally, I consider Dark Black to be a musical triumph of 2017 and it is probably my favourite new album of this year so far.