Hailing from the San Francisco Bay area, Black Passage hit listeners hard with the tempestuous sound of The Veil, their debut album, a work not easily compartmentalised as it draws many influences from a diverse medley of extreme metal genres and beyond. Indeed, The Veil walks a tightrope balancing volatile aggression with disparate, melancholy riffs and vocals to intriguing effect.
The album begins elusively with the airy sounding guitar work of ‘The Lost’ – a track that gives the impression of the reprieve of sleep before the explosive, industrial barrage of growled riffs and double pedal drumming bursts into to disturb the calm. This dualism characterises The Veil as it oscillates between dirge ridden riffs, staccato rhythms, breakdowns and guttural vocals – all hallmarks of both hardcore and deathcore. As tracks veer into clean vocal territory, there is a gloomy tone to the vocals that bring to mind Kurt Cobain especially when accompanied by dreamy, echo drenched guitar lines. Indeed an image is conjured of walking a thin line, between the twin abysses of visceral rage and exhausting, engulfing despondency. These elements blend together well in spectacular fashion, such as during ‘Left to Waste’ where a thunderous breakdown is coupled with a lofty, major key melody. Likewise, this can also be found in the crescendo of ‘The Broken Hand’ where blasting drums are melded to wretched screams with a delicate, psychedelic melody. All of these elements give the album a forceful, yet intricate texture.
Black Passage have coined a unique style which breathes emotive subtext. The Veil draws distinct influences from hardcore, deathcore, melodic death metal, post metal and grunge. The variety in arrangement of these elements makes the album compelling, diverse and deeply relatable.
The Veil is out 26th July via and can be purchased here.
Words: Omur Sowar