Some bands live entirely on their gimmicks—be it an Icelandic quartet of nothing but keyboardists (Appatat) or Beirut’s Zach Condon claiming that his debut album didn’t feature a single guitar. Here, Utah’s own Blackhole can also claim that they have no guitars—instead employing the use of two mighty bassists, to give the hard-rockers a deep, heavy sound that bleeds through on every track of their eponymous LP. Unfortunately, being so bass-heavy means that after awhile, the songs begin to blend together, which is its own issue aside from Chopper’s love-em-or-hate-em vocal stylings. But even with that, songs like “The Spectrum” and “Protocol” retain a rollicking tension that’s both heavy and profoundly unique. The blue ribbon goes to the brooding “Rosa”, but even more praise goes to a band that doesn’t let convention get in the way of rocking the hell out.
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// Notes from the Road
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