What do you get when you put the singer/guitarist from The Trophy Fire, the drummer from Far, and the bassist for dredg in a room to create some new music? Definitely not what you’d expect. On the debut album from Black Map, this trio blows away all expectations and takes listeners on a sonic journey that’s a little bit prog, a little bit hard rock, and a whole lotta heavy with a healthy dose of space rawk thrown in for good measure.
While there are hints of their other outfits throughout, the grand consensus of …And We Explode is that it’s greatly something else and fundamentally heavy. “Code” enters with an arpeggiated bounce and a hyper guitar line leading the charge bringing to mind Chevelle at times, Tool at others. Elsewhere on the album, “Gold” recalls some of that Failure-style Magnified magic, “Chinaski” is fueled by the chug-a-chug riffage that drives the back end while “Eyes On The Prize” is this glorious anthem that highlights Ben Flanagan’s sweet, sweet falsetto.
And who doesn’t love themes throughout their albums? Here we have “And We Explode pts 1 & 2” entering during the middle and end of the album. Both songs are beautiful, driving, with a wailing guitar that just screams. If any song (s) on …And We Explode completely captured the sound that Black Map strive for it’d be this. But enough with all this cerebral brainiac stuff. If you need to clear the “thinking man’s metal” palette skip straight to “Gemini” for a balls out rocker propelled by drummer Chris Robyn’s relentless skin bashing and Flanagan and Mark Engles’ dual guitar action which leads to the equally abrasive “Stranger”.
Black Map is not your carbon copy hard rock act. They’re something else. If you like a whole lotta thought put into your heavy rock then this is a band you need to check out.
…And We Explode will be unleashed on October 28th through Minus Head Records. Buy yours here.