Black Space Riders’ new album is entitled We’ve Been Here Before (Cargo Records). It’s got what you’ve come to expect from Black Space Riders: multi-layered sounds, a deep and grounded ambiance that gets you into feelings, amazing guitar and bass work, and best of all, it’s a cosmic assault to your senses. The alchemy that went into creating We’ve Been Here Before coalesced and oozed into something that is gob-smacking.
There is a little bit of everything in this big black cauldron of an album.
The distorted guitars and punky vibe of some of the songs puts you in the mind of Queens of the Stone Age, while the song ‘Crawling (Down With Everything)’ with its guitars and wah pedals, sounds more like Stone Temple Pilots. The highlight of this song is where MEI’s bass is front and center and JE (lead vocals) sings over it. The song is headbanging, foot-stomping, windmill worthy.
The vocals range from punk to alt metal to the dripping menacing sexiness of new wave goth. ‘Almost the Lost’ is new wave in the atmosphere it evokes. Tonally, it’s purple with flecks of light-blue in the guitar parts that flit in like fireflies. The song is twilight and woodsy, with towering birch and aspen trees. ‘This Flow’ is a slow burn that evokes vampires and werewolves on the prowl at night. ‘Shine’ is other worldly. It’s blacks and greys, a rainy autumnal London night in the east end. There is a wicked blending of a circle pit with pogo-ing and an eighties goth club that ends its night with ‘Bela Lagosi is Dead’. It works, trust me. It’s Black Space Riders.
‘AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGH’ is totally rocking The Cramps vibe before it slides into this David Bowie Ziggy Stardust thing and then it careens like an out-of-control dragula to its ending which, primarily, is screaming the title over and over again. It’s majestic. ‘We Have Been Here Before’ marries Metallica’s St. Anger period guitars with The Fields of the Nephilim. It takes some compositional genius to make this work, which Black Space Riders pull off: ‘We Have Been Here Before’ has a metallic, the machines have taken over, feel. Cylon or Cybermen, Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. Conversely, ‘Fear No More’ could easily be a Roxy Music song. The vocals are so Bryan Ferry, it’s obnoxiously sexy.
There are so many good songs on We’ve Been Here Before. Each song is layered and textured and the album is an aural landscape full of colours. There is a delicious perfection to each composition that makes the music feel timeless. It’s easy to lose yourself in this album. Everything folds inward like a sixties psychedelic trip.
Black Space Riders, I doff my cap to thee. We’ve Been Here Before is magnificent.
Buy the album here: https://blackspaceriders.bandcamp.com/album/we-have-been-here-before
9 / 10