The Black Heart Procession


by Erik Gamlem

4 September 2000


The closest I ever got to walking the edge of a horrible drunken loneliness was from listening to the Nick Cave song “I Let Love In” when I was about 17 or so. One night, when I put on this Black Heart Procession album after a particularly long workday, I was taken back to that moment, song after song. See, the reason I survived the horrible sadness, misery and loneliness of the great Nick Cave was because the next track on the album “Thirsty Dog” was a racket of anger and loud guitars a la Blixa Bargeld.

But, see, the Black Heart Procession doesn’t bring you out of the trenches of the misery they project. The worst part about that is too, that they want you to think it’s a self-inflicted kind of sorrow, but it’s not. No, I am convinced that it is the music. The music is beautiful.

cover art

The Black Heart Procession


(Touch And Go)
US: 5 Sep 2000

When guitar lines can be literally anything under the sun, that is great musicianship. On “Guess I’ll Forget You,” the guitars are lonely. Each note sustained to pull at your emotional strings, and perfectly accentuating the carefully and sorrowful vocal line. The humming of organ in the middle ground becomes more haunting by the addition of the light time keeping of a lonely snare. Throw in a bit of echo on the percussion and you are ready to turn inside yourself forever.

I don’t recommend this record for the broken-hearted or the lonely or the chronically depressed. The seemingly never ending opening of “Once Said at the Fires” is enough to make even a seemingly happy person want to do themselves in. The somber and softly sung lyrics sneak into the picture and tears will begin to swell in your eyes.

It doesn’t matter what a person is moved to create. Weather it is happiness or sorrow that a musician finds as their creative muse, when the art is created with such a powerful will then something worth while has been brought into the world. The Black Heart Procession has mastered their muse and they continue to weave a never ending web of beautiful sorrow.

Topics: three
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work. We are a wholly independent, women-owned, small company. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing, challenging times where costs have risen and advertising has dropped precipitously. PopMatters needs your help to keep publishing. Thank you.

//Mixed media


"No Dollars in Duende": On Making Uncompromising, Spirited Music

// Sound Affects

"On the elusive yet clearly existential sadness that adds layers and textures to music.

READ the article