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The year 2019 marked significant changes for Baltimore psychedelic-doom trio, Black Lung. Following the release of their third album, Ancients, guitarist and founding member Adam Bufano amiably departed the band and in November 2019, was replaced by guitarist Dave Fullerton. Just four months later, the reconfigured trio’s plans for touring in support of Ancients were canceled as the world entered COVID-19 lockdown. It was time to reconcile their touring ambition with the reality that live music was effectively shut down indefinitely. In the existential dread, loss and uncertainty of the global pandemic, with the backdrop of malignant fascism and cultural enmity in the USA, Black Lung began writing the songs that would comprise their next record.
There is no question that Dark Waves, Black Lung’s newest release via Heavy Psych Sounds Records, was conceived in hostile times. Dave Cavaliers lyrics reflect this hostility. Songs like ‘The Cog’ and ‘Mad King’ lament the weaponized ignorance of the propagandized American citizen, while ‘Awaken’ and ‘The Path’ muse on escapism and the false protection of dreams. On the title track, ‘Dark Waves’, the band channels this mood of bitterness through their instruments, as a meditative bridge is slowly transformed into a foreboding storm front centered around Dave Fullerton’s hypnotic guitar melodies.
Despite the apparent darkness, Dark Waves is not a cold or desolate sounding record. The band leaps forward from their previous releases with warmer, brighter sound crafting and more audacious songwriting. There are passages with a tangible sense of jubilation and excitement, as the band members revel in the recording process after more than a year of uncertainty and frustration. While in some ways Dark Waves offers a departure from prior Black Lung records, the band stays true to their roots in doom and psychedelic music, delivering eight songs packed with the frenzied, fuzzed-out guitar breakdowns, booming drums, and soulful vocals that longtime fans will appreciate. The decision to bring bass guitar prominently into the mix on Dark Waves adds new levels of depth and heaviness to Black Lung’s songs, which may be the album’s most notable and exciting development.
Underpinning everything about Dark Waves is the band’s decision to shed conventions and their ability to adapt to change. For Black Lung, making it through these dark times meant reflecting on the past while pushing forward without knowing what the future may hold. The result is a record that sees Black Lung rising to new sonic heights. Dark Waves is set for global release through Heavy Psych Sounds Records May 27th, 2022.
Black Lung Facebook:
Dark Waves 05:49
The Cog 10:57
Hollow Dreams 22:10
Death Grip 28:31
The Path 32:09
Mad King 35:54
Black Lung is:
Dave Cavalier – Guitar & Vocals
Elias Schutzman – Drums
Dave Fullerton – Guitar
Mac Hewitt – Bass
Recorded by J. Robbins at Magpie Cage Studio
Mixed by Kurt Ballou at God City Studio
Mastered by Magnus Lindberg
Shawna Potter – Vocals on Death Grip
Blake Mobley – Keyboards on “The Cog” and “The Path”
Devree Lewis – Cello on “Hollow Dreams”