BLACK LAKES - The Patriot, Crumlin 25.05.19
PHOTO CREDITS: LINDSAY SMITH
I’ve been looking forward to this gig ever since I knew it was going to be a thing. We’d received a copy of BLACK LAKES debut EP ‘The Divide’ last year and instantly fell in love with their sound. (link to our review of the EP and interview with the band at the end of this review.)
We had the exclusive play of ‘The Divide’ on Episode #91 of Down The Front Podcast and played ‘Dissident’ on Episode #93. It is quite safe to say that we like this band, and here we are, witnessing them live, in what is only their second gig.
Could their sound translate live and continue the DTF love affair, or was this going to be that awkward breakup? “It’s not me, it’s you!”
Let’s find out…
A short intro tape gives way to a bass tone that, no pun intended, sets the tone for the gig ahead. Lee Harris providing a chest-rattling boom whilst Dafydd Fuller delicately taps out hi-hat patterns on the drums before the meat of ‘Dissident’ kicks in with a 3-guitar assault of crushing riffage. BLACK LAKES has an eclectic mix of influences which shouldn’t necessarily work together but does, and the ethereal clean guitar passages on the verses and vocals of Will S. Preston lend a bit of a gothic tinge to the song.
‘New Breed’, which I believe is a new song, correct me if I’m wrong, is almost doomy in parts. There are elements where the rapid double kick drumming, tremolo picking and bass heavy riffs sound so weighty like the music is literally pushing down on you, squashing and compressing you.
Time for a slow dance number…(lolz) with ‘Deathrone’ up next and it starts off with more hi-hat patterns and clean guitar but then, BIG CHUNKY RIFFS! Seriously, this triple threat of Scott Bradshaw, James Rowlands and newbie Jake Hamilton have riffs for days. What I like about their sound, which is evident on all of their songs to be fair, is that the rhythm parts are so precise and taut, and when Lee’s bass is added, that is a lot of low-end sonic frequency being filled up, but it never sounds muddy. Yes, it is a full sound and yes, it is dense but the mix is fairly well balanced with no-one being drowned out.
‘Ghosts (Of Our Memories)’ is lovingly dedicated to Dafydd’s mum and dad and begins with a clean, slow arpeggio guitar line and some falsetto, melodic vocals. There is some cool tom-tom drumming on this and more intricate vocal melodies with lines weaving around each other. I particularly liked the vocal trade-off between Will, James, Scott and Dafydd as it mixes things up. This one is a slower song with more room to breathe, there is a short, melodic guitar solo from Jake and of course, more brutal rhythms!
The night comes to a disappointingly short end with the epic title-track of their debut EP, ‘The Divide’. Persisting, ginormous riffs, massive grooves, grinding bass which continues to pulverise The Patriot and a grandiose, sweeping chorus. A perfect way to close out a fantastic set.
Melodic vocals, massive rhythms, deep-set grooves and a ton of talent and potential. What more could you possibly want from a band? James told us at the end that there were more backing vocals than usual tonight, but I would like to see that developed because it adds another dimension to their sound.
The end of my notes simply reads “Well, that was fucking epic”. And it was. The 6-piece shattered The Patriot with their sonorous, commanding sound and with new recordings taking place in the summer and a music video to come shortly, the future for BLACK LAKES looks very promising indeed.
‘The Divide’ EP review / Interview - https://www.downthefrontmedia.com/latest-feature-articles-/2018/10/26/black-lakes-the-divide-ep-review-amp-interview?rq=black%20lakes
Black Lakes are:
Scott Bradshaw – Guitar
Dafydd Fuller – Drums
Lee Harris – Bass
Jake Hamilton – Lead Guitar
Will S. Preston – Vocals
James Rowlands - Guitar
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