Upon being recommended (tentatively) the new record from The Black Heart Procession, a friend said to me: “Bleak is fine with me. Lap it up. I just can’t stand when singers start whining. These guys seem to have avoided that though. Maybe it’s the deep voices.” This idea of there being ….
Six is an album possessed. It is haunted by heartache, by loss, by demons and, often, by the devil himself. There are songs here called "Wasteland," "Rats," "Drugs," and "Suicide." So, yeah, this is some pretty stark stuff. But, through all this desolation, members Pall Jenkins and Tobais Nathaniel put up quite a fight.
While inherently dark and possibly blasphemous, an album like Six draws its strength not from its lyrical content or its effective incorporation of influences, but from its ability to utilize space and sound together. Of course, the lyrical content and the might of Black Heart Procession's influences all play into it, but the band's latest opus is not simply a sloppy assemblage of the two. .
Like costume shops, pumpkin beer, and playoff baseball, the Black Heart Procession are at their peak in the month of October. Adept at pulling off the delicate task of making legitimately unsettling, spooky music without sounding like a novelty, sipping from the BHP's skull-shaped chalice as the weather cools and the nights grow longer is a perfect seasonal accompaniment. So good work guy who schedules Temporary Residence record releases; you deserve a raise.
Six is the Black Heart Procession's most anticipated album since the San Diego band formed 12 years ago. This mundanely named sixth release is also their darkest. Slow and melodramatic, it tells a love/hate story that ultimately ends in murder and suicide. [rssbreak] Heaven, hell, Devil and soul are evoked, and regardless of tempo or emotional change-ups, the lyrics never lighten up.
The twinkling, fairy-tale piano line that opens the first track of the Black Heart Procession’s sixth full-length album, simply titled Six, quickly gives way to the bloodless voice of Pall Jenkins (sounding wearier than ever, if that’s possible), who sounds as if he’s reading from a portentous letter when he talk-sings, “When you’re through with me / When your heart aches / When your head spins / When you tempt me / When you finish me”. More than a song, “When You Finish Me” is an oracular statement of purpose. The Black Heart Procession have not lightened up, mellowed out, or, it would seem, enjoyed the benefits of quality anti-depressants since their last outing.