Black Bloc – No Innocent Civilians 2xCDR

25 September 2011 xdementia No Comment

Black Bloc – No Innocent Civilians 2xCDR

Self Released

This is the first full-length recording that I have delved into from Black Bloc and it’s a heavy effort. Two discs with each containing two tracks and rounding out to about an hours worth of material. Black Bloc’s style here is very unique because in many cases the noise has post-rock elements mixed into it which range from slowly moving piano melodies, guitars, and floating drones. There are even moments on here that remind me quite a bit of something from Godspeed You Black Emperor but not as intricate. Perhaps this influence isn’t too far off given that Black Bloc is also a leftist, anarchist themed power electronics project.

Disc 1 is the real winner here. The first track is entitled White Torture contains some interesting resonating drones and mixed in noise elements which sometimes flow into more rhythmic patterns. Heavy vocal attacks with more typical PE barks are strewn about on top of the mix, quite loud. The style reminds me of IRM, but the sound design is a pale comparison to the Swedish masters. It’s not a bad mix of sounds though and is able to actually hold my attention for the entire 20 minutes which is impressive given the starkness of it. Next up is a whopping 38 minute track entitled Just Beyond Those Streetlights There Lies a Dead-End Road. This once again shows the best side of Black Bloc’s sound. Simple bell-like orchestral harmonies converge with noise and power electronics in the first half to form that odd mix of harmony and chaos that Black Bloc really excels at. The noise builds to a crescendo and finally dies back down about half-way through to present the aforementioned post-rock style guitar slowly turning somber melodies. This time when the noise joins it’s more rhythmic but the same formula is once again repeated.

Disc 2 consists of two longs tracks yet again. This time the title track clocking in at just over 30 minutes combines piano, spoken samples, rhythmic noise blasts and barking vocals rather unsuccessfully. The different elements just don’t seem to mesh in any way. Luckily the noise finally overtakes everything and the track descends into a nice mix if industrial/noise with power electronic vocals. The noise is quite thick and foreboding yet loses momentum when it fades into lost radio frequencies and more distorted spoken word samples. Finally the last track is untitled and unlisted but consists of what sounds like a field recording of walking around at a music festival; folk music, crowds, footsteps, city streets and traffic all make an appearance here.

No Innocent Civilians is a release that shows the beginnings of an artist that has potential yet is still learning the art of noise. There are certainly original characteristics to the style with the successfully merging of post-rock and noise elements on the first disc but there is also room for improvement mainly in the larger structure of the compositions and overall sound.

Composition: ★★½☆☆
Sounds: ★★★☆☆
Production Quality: ★★½☆☆
Concept: ★★½☆☆
Packaging: ★★½☆☆
Overall Rating: ★★½☆☆

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