Build it Up, Break it Down
Classifying music genres can be insanely complicated, but it’s a necessary evil when trying to discuss and promote music. In the case of Black Math Horseman, a relatively new band from Los Angeles, the term “post-metal” seems to be the closest one can come to an accurate classification, or at least that’s the shortest way to explain it. BMH’s debut album Wyllt is currently out on Tee Pee Records and was produced by Scott Reeder, bass player of stoner-rock legends Kyuss.
The influence of that sound is evident in BMH’s music, but that is just one of many bands that you could say they kind of sound like but not really. Tool, The Doors, Isis, Pink Floyd—essentially a strange mix of stoner, psychedelic, and progressive rock that would be great background music for an acid trip.
Vocalist and bassist Sera Timm’s voice is haunting and androgynously low, yet it’s not the main focus of the songs. The emphasis is more on musical buildup and climax, with her voice as just another instrument. For example, a slow but heavy drum beat starts off opening track “Tyrant” and then the guitars come in, playing a quick rhythm layered over trippy slides. Finally, the vocals flow into the mix with gentle melodies, almost like meditative chants.
It’s not all just gentle melodies though; BMH have their heavy moments too, like “Origin of Savagery.” Complicated drums and guitars blast you immediately, then the song pulls back into something sludgy and bluesy. It all builds into an intense pinnacle at the end with Timm’s low chant suddenly turning into an angry wail.
Though BMH stray from the verse-chorus-verse formula completely, every song has a solid path it follows. Most of the tracks are about five minutes long except for epic closer “Birds of All Faiths and None/Bell from Madrone” which clocks in at 11:08 but doesn’t grow boring at any point. The music is dark and malevolent, and Timm gets to exercise her angry moaning ability to a powerful degree. It’s definitely one of the high points of the album.
The work here is reminiscent of so many great bands, yet the results are exceedingly original. Black Math Horseman’s Wyllt is highly recommended for any fan of post-metal, stoner rock, psychedelic rock or just good, loud music.