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The Bohannons: Black Cross, Black Shield

Black Cross, Black Shield may sound dark, but it's anything but.
The Bohannons
Black Cross, Black Shield
This Is American Music
2015-03-30

Chattanooga, Tennessee’s the Bohannons sound like what you’d get if you blended together Crazy Horse-era Neil Young, R.E.M., Southern rock, 13th Floor Elevators psychedelia, and a little Sabbath-style metal. In short, their sound is formidable, loud, and ferocious without sacrificing clarity or intelligence. Anyone who enjoyed 2012’s impressive Unaka Rising will be glad to know that the Bohannons use that disc as a springboard to this equally ambitious record. Black Cross, Black Shield acknowledges the darkness and hardships of life, but essentially says, “You know what? The best way to celebrate that struggle is as God intended: with slabs of electric guitars.” The album contains no shortage of sickness, death, and darkness, but it never allows itself to get dragged down. From the distorted jangle of “White Widow” to the cinematic openness of “Dias De Los Muertes” to the stomp-and-grind of “Cold Rag”, the Bohannons seem intent on making sure you’ll ponder the meaning that comes along with our mortality, but also that you’ll bang your head and sing along while you do it.

RATING 8 / 10
PopMatters