A striking collaboration between Jarboe and two members of Trust Obey, John Bergin and Brett Smith, Blackmouth finds the three creating an appropriately mysterious album with a definite edge.
Jarboe’s ability to mark and interpret feelings of rage and sexual power crossed with epic, mystic visions of love, life, and loss makes a perfect starting point for Bergin and Smith’s haunting music.
Starting with the first of three versions of “The Conversion” — this one subtitled “Silent” due to its dark ambient flow behind Jarboe’s keening verses, the other two bringing more beats and sharper vocals to the fore — Blackmouth creates an album that will appeal to an already primed goth/industrial audience and can reach out beyond that to the adventurous listener.
Importantly, as with their own individual work, the trio doesn’t feel the need to be competing in a realm of who can make the loudest or hardest music.
Many songs subtly suggest clattering, murky depths rather than outlining them fully, as the brief, instrumental title track and “Surrender to the Heart” readily capture.
The delicacy Bergin and Smith bring to the music at many points is perfectly captivating, such as the inclusion of a descending keyboard melody toward the end of “The Black Pulse Grain” contrasting with a softly distorted rhythm break, or the wheezing sounds and piano making up “Inner Alien,” with gripping images of pregnancy and anger. “The Burn,” with its recurrent, clattering loop backing Jarboe’s alternately low-key singing and wordless keening, makes for one of the best moments, containing plenty of energy without pumping the mix up to 11. Even the wordless numbers carry plenty of Jarboe’s unmistakable power — “And I Call Myself Hag,” consisting mostly of various overdubs of Jarboe’s entrancing voice, is probably the secret highlight of the album as a whole, as spiritual and involving as any gospel number or musical invocation of Allah.
1 The Conversion (Silent) 5:35
2 Blackmouth 2:00
3 The Black Pulse Grain 5:13
4 Risen 3:44
5 The Burn 5:02
6 And I Call Myself Hag 3:51
7 Inner Alien 3:02
8 Smother 6:43
9 The Conversion (Relapse) 6:28
10 In A World Of Her Own 2:13
11 Surrender For His Heart 3:21
12 Seduce And Destroy 4:33
13 Risen (Bloodless Remix) 3:46
14 The Conversion (Cruel) 3:33
Old Europa Cafe AVS