Album Review: Black Moth – “Anatomical Venus”
Black Moth have been slapping their doomy riffs around our faces since 2012’s epic debut, The Killing Jar and as they embark upon album number three, the Leeds five piece aren’t holding back, threatening their most intense garage-psych experience yet with Anatomical Venus.
Opener Istra‘s “Aphroditeeeeee!!!!!” chorus call is a darkly magical way to entice the listener in, backed by an incessantly catchy chug that sends you out to space and back down to Earth with a bump, before lead single Moonbow picks you back up and bathes you in swathes of dense grooves. A suitably beguiling effort full of hypnotic riffs and even a Mastodon-style breakaway in its final third, Moonbow is classic Moth, all washed down by Harriet Hyde’s distinctive vocals that switch from sweetness to sorceress effortlessly.
Pitched as Black Moth’s heaviest record yet, Anatomical Venus is certainly that, with a stunningly polished production courtesy of Andy Hawkins (of Eureka Machines and Hawk Eyes knob-twiddling fame). In fact this album is bone-rattlingly thunderous, full of the sort of ferociously doomy riffs that the Moth have made their own yet cranked up an extra level or two and it’s full of variety as well. Sisters Of The Stone is a pacey outing with the guitars of Jim Swainston and Federica Gialanze buzzing around inside it like trapped wasps, whilst Buried Hoards is still suitably devilish but in its lighter moments brings the band’s indie influences to the fore, before knocking your block off with another big chorus. It’s usually tricky to pace a doom album properly, but in mixing up the faster numbers with the sluggers like this, Black Moth keep interest high throughout Anatomical Venus.
As the album progresses, the band continue to experiment, throwing songs together that challenge the listener to keep up. Severed Grace may bring things down to a Sabbath-y crawl, but the adrenaline shot of A Lovers Hate immediately afterwards is perfectly timed, storming in like Thin Lizzy had a romantic weekend away with Ozzy, returning back home up the duff and smoking a gigantic cigar in celebration. The influences don’t stop there either; Screen Queen and Pig Man have a touch of the garage fuzz that made L7 so revered, but Black Moth pummel into both with an additional verve that swings them away from grunge and onto a far heavier spectrum. Once again for contrast, Tourmaline, sandwiched in between, is a lighter song in many ways, yet it’s still got that devilish edge that pervades through the spine of this record. In fact, this is probably Black Moth’s most consistent album yet, thematically strong, brutally unrelenting, yet darkly charming, and rammed full of inventively trippy musicianship to boot.
Anatomical Venus is certainly a grower, and you'll need to spend some quality time with it to fully appreciate all that the album offers. When you do though, this is a huge sounding effort, chock full of passionate, melodic, riffy and seductive songs that sees Black Moth at their absolute best.