PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.


Black Moth: Condemned to Hope

For headbangers who like to bash their heads really slowly, Condemned to Hope will do the trick.

Black Moth

Condemned to Hope

Label: New Heavy Sounds
US Release Date: 2014-09-16
UK Release Date: 2014-09-22
Label website

"I'm a rotting relic of rock 'n' roll," sings Harriet Bevan of UK group Black Moth. Considering that they're relatively new, they formed at the end of the last decade, that lyric might come as a surprise. However, Black Moth combines the heavy stoner riffage of Black Sabbath with the scrappy intensity of the Stooges. This is as close to raw power as it gets. And even though the sounds are remotely similar to each other, there's a lot of fun within Condemned to Hope's grooves. The guitars stab with brooding precision, and everything is at a sludgy mid-tempo, so much so that this is music for you to roll around in the mud and get dirty to. So, while Black Moth aren't the most original group around, they're one of the most stimulating. The interplay between a female vocalist with a distinctly male metal sound gives the disc a shot of gravitas. Plus, you gotta love a band who hires THE Roger Dean (of Yes fame) to do the cover artwork.

A pity then about some of the lyrics, as they verge on being unintentionally funny. "You might as well be speaking in tongues for all I understand," wails Bevan, and that's true. "Your eyes say rock 'n' roll / But your breath says pepperoni / Baby, you're the one for me," goes a line in "Tumbleweave". Ugh! How about this? "Crack an egg on my breast, love." Honestly, I can't believe what I'm hearing. Is this supposed to be metal? I suppose one could just say that this is a band with a sense of humor, but, frankly, given the ferociousness of the material, it doesn't work well. Still, for headbangers who like to bash their heads really slowly, Condemned to Hope will do the trick. The heavy riffs are suitably heavy in that '70s metal kind of way, and there are plenty of them to go around here. It's just that the lyrics are so horribly bad, that one's enjoyment of the material gets knocked down a notch if you're listening to this way too closely. A good time here, but not much more than that, alas.


Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.





Artemis Is the Latest Jazz Supergroup

A Blue Note supergroup happens to be made up of women, exclusively. Artemis is an inconsistent outing, but it dazzles just often enough.


Horrors in the Closet: A Closet Full of Monsters

A closet full of monsters is a scary place where "straight people" can safely negotiate and articulate their fascination and/or dread of "difference" in sexuality.


'Wildflowers & All the Rest' Is Tom Petty's Masterpiece

Wildflowers is a masterpiece because Tom Petty was a good enough songwriter by that point to communicate exactly what was on his mind in the most devastating way possible.


Jazz Composer Maria Schneider Takes on the "Data Lords" in Song

Grammy-winning jazz composer Maria Schneider released Data Lords partly as a reaction to her outrage that streaming music services are harvesting the data of listeners even as they pay musicians so little that creativity is at risk. She speaks with us about the project.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 100-81

PopMatters' best albums of the 2000s begin with a series of records that span epic metal, ornate indie folk, and a terrifying work of electronic music.


The Power of Restraint in Sophie Yanow, Paco Roca, and Elisa Macellari's New Graphic Novels

The magical quality that makes or breaks a graphic novel lies somewhere in that liminal space in which art and literature intersect.


'People of the City' Is an Unrelenting Critique of Colonial Ideology and Praxis

Cyprian Ekwensi's People of the City is a vivid tale of class struggle and identity reclamation in the shadows of colonialism's reign.


1979's 'This Heat' Remains a Lodestone for Avant-Rock Adventure

On their self-titled debut, available for the first time on digital formats, This Heat delivered an all-time classic stitched together from several years of experiments.


'The Edge of Democracy' and Parallels of Political Crises

Academy Award-nominated documentary The Edge of Democracy, now streaming on Netflix, lays bare the political parallels of the rise of Bolsonaro's Brazil with Trump's America.


The Pogues' 'The BBC Sessions 1984-1986' Honors Working-Class Heroes

The Pogues' BBC Sessions 1984-1986 is a welcome chapter in the musical story of these working-class heroes, who reminded listeners of the beauty and dignity of the strong, sooty backs upon which our industrialized world was built.


Mary Halvorson Creates Cacophony to Aestheticize on 'Artlessly Falling'

Mary Halvorson's Artlessly Falling is a challenging album with tracks comprised of improvisational fragments more than based on compositional theory. Halvorson uses the various elements to aestheticize the confusing world around her.


15 Overlooked and Underrated Albums of the 1990s

With every "Best of the '90s" retrospective comes a predictable list of entries. Here are 15 albums that are often overlooked as worthy of placing in these lists, and are too often underrated as some of the best records from the decade.


'A Peculiar Indifference' Takes on Violence in Black America

Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie's scrupulous investigation of the impacts of violence on Black Americans, A Peculiar Indifference, shows the damaging effect of widespread suffering and identifies an achievable solution.


20 Songs From the 1990s That Time Forgot

Rather than listening to Spotify's latest playlist, give the tunes from this reminiscence of lost '90s singles a spin.


Delightful 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' Is Good Escapism

Now streaming on Amazon Prime, Bharat Nalluri's 2008 romantic comedy, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, provides pleasant respite in these times of doom and gloom.


The 10 Best Horror Movie Remakes

The horror genre has produced some remake junk. In the case of these ten treats, the update delivers something definitive.


Flirting with Demons at Home, or, When TV Movies Were Evil

Just in time for Halloween, a new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber presents sparkling 2K digital restorations of TV movies that have been missing for decades: Fear No Evil (1969) and its sequel, Ritual of Evil (1970).


Magick Mountain Are Having a Party But Is the Audience Invited?

Garage rockers Magick Mountain debut with Weird Feelings, an album big on fuzz but light on hooks.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.