Taking formation back in 2015, Black Road rose from Chicago Illinois, and they deliver a brand of stoner/doom that’s surprisingly accessible with a ghostly aura attached. Two years ago, they dropped their self-titled EP to establish the general idea, and now we have before us the first full-length record titled Witch Of The Future to further cement them. It’s comprised of seven tracks and a bonus number that are predominantly longer adventures with fewer straightforward bangers.
When I say accessible, don’t think I mean poppy in any way, but more-or-less soothing. There are a lot of booming guitar passages such as the built-up energy in “Radiation,” or the second half of the ten-minute title track. What’s nice is that both tunes display a large number of hooks. The soothing parts come in around a lot of the intros; the entire opening track “Purgatory” is made of clean and beautiful licks. Same can be said about the beginning and closing of the title track, reminding me a lot of Black Sabbath’s “Solitude.”
To compliment this are vocals that match the prettiness, as frontwoman Suzi Uzi doesn’t step into harsh territory at all. All of this does unfortunately make for something that comes off as a bit too safe. The longer tunes also work together for what feels like one continuous song. That can help in the sense of wanting something more relaxing, but hurt when it comes to variation. Rest assured though, I would not call Witch Of The Future a stagnating disc thanks to the sharp delivery and easy run-time. But I did find some individual parts to run-on too much. “Blood On The Blade” is the shortest track here, and the structure itself helps it stand out, breaking apart the drawn-out tunes. Tim M’s guitar solo on this one is also easily my favorite, rising above the others.
Black Road nail everything that they set out to do. This is everything that I would expect from a debut record, and it serves as a great album for those seeking to dive deeper into stoner/doom metal. It’s clean, it’s soothing, it’s digestible, and like I said, safe. I look forward to what this spooky group will have to offer in the future.