Do you like your rock with an edge? Do you like it sounding like it should be played in a bar that has a strip club neighboring it on one side and a pot dispensary on the other, and not so secret hallways that lead to both? Maybe a place where people still smoke and the occasional fist fight simply means it’s Friday night? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions then welcome to Black Wail.
In reality New Jersey’s Black Wail are a little harder to define than what group of deviants might welcome them with open arms. They fully admit themselves to running the gamut from stoner rock to doom metal to psych rock to the blues, sometimes all within one track. Somewhere in this mixed up world of ours such a mixed bag of influences works, and works well. If all else fails, Black Wail can never be accused of at least not making things interesting from start to finish on their proper debut album, All You Can Eat.
The album opens with the foot-stomping, ass-kicking “Hot Seat” – complete with an absolutely mammoth opening riff and a wall of rock that crashes on the shore like a tidal wave of distortion. It’s followed by the more angular rocker “Trucks” as Black Wail shift their rock gears from the stoner to a more 90s alt variety. By the time you hit the track “Tree of Life” things start to drift from attention-grabbing to downright fascinating. Standing as both their heaviest track and the one that just happens to have a violin accompaniment, it’s at this point that Black Wail decide to let their creative juices flow like a gash on their collective foreheads. “Lie of Omission” is a 70s-steeped, prog rock instrumental strong on organs and roach clips. Meanwhile, “Apple Pie” is a garage rock anthem soaked in cheap beer and MC5 worship and album closer “Small Eulogy” is some sort of unholy love child of Black Sabbath and The Allman Brothers.
Quiet honestly, you’d be hard-pressed to find a band that was so all over the board with their musical influences and chose to wear pretty much all of them on their collective sleeves when it came time to hit the studio. But for Black Wail home is not wear you hang your hat, so much as the highway you traverse with some occasional stops to crash.
All You Can Eat is now available for your listening and purchasing pleasure at the Black Wail Bandcamp page.