Album Review: Black Electric’s “III”

VOORHEESVILLE – When it comes to chugging guitar riffs and sludgy bass lines, Mike Vitali is no stranger. Releasing his latest effort, III, under the name Black Electric, Vitali has compiled an album of tunes that are an amalgamation of blues-rock and metal. With songs that seem to be exploding with grit, snarl, and enough gravitas to make one’s hair stand on end, there’s certainly a lot of energy packed into just eight songs.

“Neutron Bomb,” the album’s opener, was a demonstrative example of what listeners have in store. With chugging bass riffs followed by drums in the intro, and complemented by an extremely fuzz-effected guitar, the song took no time in developing the record’s energy. Additional higher-pitched guitar parts, along with an overall packing in of great riffs made for a great beginning. Listeners can expect more of the same on the next track, “Heaven,” as the guitar tone became even more prominent. Both songs featured an abrupt ending. Of particular interest to this listener was the following track, “Win, Win, Win.”

Utilizing lyrics from “Stewball,” by an artist synonymous with the blues, Leadbelly, Vitali incorporated this genre into his own brand of sludging metal and rock to create a nice crossover track. On top of this, the track served well as an example of his creative influences. The fourth track, “On My Way,” also fulfilled similar outcomes.

During, “On My Way,” folks will be greeted immediately with a DIY aesthetic, as the intro consisted of guitar amp hiss; the kind only prominent when extreme amounts of gain are being pumped through the speaker. It’s worth noting that this type of noise being left in a record can often come across as aberrant or unpleasant to the ear, but that wasn’t the case here; it expounded upon the already cemented feel of the record. Guitar techniques such as finger-tapping can be heard on this track, giving credence to those unfamiliar with Vitali’s work that he is adept at wielding an “axe” – a common term for guitar within the musical zeitgeist – and wielding it well.

It is extremely safe to say if those listening enjoyed the first half, there is nothing in terms of concern for the latter half. That half, which featured, in order, “The Robbery,” “Dreamtime,” “Athame,” and “Exquisite Creature,” was almost the same sonically in terms of tone and tenor of the compositions and arrangements of such. There were a few exceptions, however, in songs such as “Athame,” and “Exquisite Creature.” For instance, “Athame” was the only track to end without instruments; there’s an extremely brief a cappella section heard at the end of this tune. “Exquisite Creature,” while there were still fuzzed guitars present, featured higher-voiced chords than in other songs heard, creating a bit of a sonic change – though not in any significant manner.

Throughout III, all songs sounded relatively the same in terms of tone, and arrangements. Each song featured a compelling chugging rhythm (albeit slightly different from song-to-song) that helped solidify the groove through repetition. Relying on that too much will turn some listeners away while helping to bring others in deeper for a more consistent listening experience. Fans most likely to get enjoyment out of this record include those that favor genres of metal, hard rock. Give it a listen for yourself by clicking on the link below.

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