Review- Black Bird Rising

Going across fields of self expression and spiritual interpretation, Australian guitarist Black Bird Rising has released a 3-track EP that digs deep into what it means to be human. Originally from rock outfits Devil Electric and The Ugly Kings, Christos uses this project as much for personal meditation as he does artistic freedom. Through the short 17-minutes, we’re exposed to a thick, reverberating sound that’s akin to King Dude at his most somber. His husky baritone is powerful and expansive, suprisijg considering this is his first approach at taking over vocals, showing no hint of hesitation. It comes across as confidant and sincere, although it does suffer from the amount of reverb that is overlaid at times, making some of what he is singing to become suffocated, which is a shame considering his lyrics are very intricate. This is a very minor issue in my eyes and doesn’t interfere with the entirety of the EP as it does build the atmosphere it seeks to achieve. His voice keeps a cryptic quality while the guitar comes through as a shadow over the minimalistic nature of the tracks.

Black Bird Rising is generally kept afloat through a lightly twanged guitar and Christos’ vocals in his gothic folk fashion, occasionally adding a layer of synth or percussion. One of the star elements to me comes in the track “Far From the Sea of Devils” that contain this simple bass drum and clap effect, sounding like a field recording of someone clapping their hands together in the basement of a church. The simplistic nature brings a touch of intimacy to the track that works well with the weeping guitar. The highlight of the EP comes with the song “Black Bird Rising”, a climatic and enormous track that the previous two were seeming to build towards. This is not to discredit the others by any means as they truly are stellar, but the structure of these three songs really brings together the feel of climbing to the summit. And once we’re there we get what easily comes across as the most mournful —  using what seems like biblical allusions to signify loss — as well as the most menacing in terms of tone, a stark contrast to the bright chords that appear throughout the opener, “Fire into the Cosmic Sun”. The EP closes on a slightly chaotic note, using wavering death rock chords as Christos trails off repeating lament of “black bird rising.”

The self-titled EP is currently available as name your price on his Bandcamp where all proceeds go towards cancer research, along with the single “Eleven Years”. I strongly encourage you to pick this up to support a great cause and a great songwriter. Pick up your digital copy here.

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