US band BLACKFINGER first appeared as recording artists back in 2014, when they released their self-titled debut album. Come 2017 and the band is ready with their second album, “When Colors Fade Away”, which was released through M-Theory Audio in September.
A lot has happened to this band since they first appeared on the scene, and in this case we are really talking about a brand new band. Noted front-man Eric Wagner is the sole remaining member from the first incarnation of Blackfinger, and one may assume that he is the band leader and that this is a project that revolves around his talents first and foremost.
As for the music provided, those familiar with Wagner and his musical past will not be surprised to know that we’re dealing with doom metal here, and a fairly traditional aspect of the style at that. The references to Black Sabbath are numerous, as that kind of is a trademark of doom metal in general, and fans of Wagner’s other bands Trouble and The Skull will probably hear familiar sounds and vibes throughout as well. Dark toned, slow paced riffs is the order of the day, from molasses like crawling textures to more vibrant and edgier riff cascades, even with a few bursts of speed and energy here and there. Mainly slower paced though, with the warm, fuzzy twisted guitar sound you expect from any band described as doom metal.
Gentle harmony overlays is a feature in many songs, and some compositions revolve around alternating gentler or more sparse arrangements with more majestic heavier ones. A couple of tracks have been flavored with subtly psychedelic textures as well, most prominently so the excellent ballad-oriented cut Waiting for the Sun that appears towards the end of this album.
Wagner’s vocals is obviously a key element. Most times calm, almost flat and lifeless, with the addition of a careful melodic intonation in key passages, and usually soft in delivery at that. The nerve in his delivery is a careful one, and functions so well due to the contrast it provides to the instrumentation backing it and an mainly excellent placement in the mix. On the single cut where Wagner use more power on his delivery throughout, the more blues-oriented and driving After-now, the vocals actually appears to be mixed down a bit more than on the rest of this album. This song is also one of the few to feature more of a regular guitar solo.
My impression is that this is an album that will appeal to most that have a fascination with doom metal made in the traditional manner, and that fans of Wagner’s other bands Trouble and The Skull probably should be the ones that will appreciate the charms of this production best. Otherwise those with a taste for classic era Black Sabbath and bands such as Candlemass should also take note of this band and this album.
My rating: 80/100
When Colors Fade Away; Can I Get a Witness; All My Sorrow; My Old Soul; After-now; Crossing the River; Beside Still Water; Waiting for the Sun; Till We Meet Again