Black Math Horseman
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As a fan of all that is considered throwback, psychedelic, doom, and stoner metal and just about everything in between, I usually jump at the chance to give a listen to anything that certain record labels have to offer. These aforementioned labels include Rise Above, Candlelight, MeteorCity, and most recently, Tee Pee Records. I have always loved the majority of the Tee Pee artist roster: everyone from Alive to Witch, Sleep, Entrance, and of course Graveyard, whose debut was my album of the year for 2008. Lately, it seems that Tee Pee, along with Alive Records, has had the golden touch, producing some of the best rock and roll that the world has to offer including Los Angeles quartet, Black Math Horseman who just released their debut album, Wyllt, joining elements of doom, psychedelic, and space rock in a dark cloak amongst a heavy haze.
Wyllt gets started with an extremely relaxed pace, with "Tyrant", an opening track that would be the perfect sound accompaniment for an opium den. All kidding aside, this song makes your head swim and your innards feel all warm with a hypnotic groove and guitars that swirl, swell, and snake around the droney, smokey vocals of frontwoman and bassist Sera Timms, who sounds to me at times like a melding of young Grace Slick and the clean vocals of Kylesa's Laura Pleasants. In many ways, Black Math Horseman reminds me of a much more laid back, doomier Kylesa in that they have a strong, but not cliche female voice leading the charge, they both can freak out psychedelically without getting too monotonous or obnoxious, and they pay close attention to the dynamics of their songs at hand, making the album flow for an easy listen. For the majority of the album, the pace remains constant, never straying too much from their calm, but massive sound. This sound is achieved by maintaining riff-oriented grooves established by Timms' bass and the heavy, almost tribal drumming of Sasha Popvic, joined together with the layered and dynmaic guitar work of Bryan Tulao and Ian Berry. This music is extremely delicate and beautiful at times, transending into tritone-based, Sabbath-influenced doom riffs, and returning back to the drones and swells that eventually dwindle to nothing.
Many, including myself, are having a difficult time categorizing Black Math Horseman. Are they psychelic rock? Are they doom metal? Whatever the case may be, they have achieved a highly distintive and addictive sound that caught the ears at Tee Pee records, the concert-goers at the 2009 South by Southwest Music Conference, and soon the world. -Andrew Bryant