May 2017 13

Black Needle Noise - Before the Tears CameBlack Needle Noise
Category: Gothic / Blues / Rock
Album: Before the Tears Came
Stars: 3.5
Blurb: A conglomeration of different talents under the guidance of renowned production guru John Fryer, creating a mishmash of sounds to culminate in a darkly engaging, though hardly easygoing listening experience.


If John Fryer sounds like a familiar name, then it’s because of his legacy as one of modern music’s most versatile and most revered producers. His career has spanned over three decades in numerous genres, from his early days with labels like 4AD and Beggars Banquet to becoming one of the most sought after names in the industrial music scene, and even venturing into progressive rock, metal, and all points in between; it would perhaps be better to ask who he has not worked with as his resume is one of the most impressive in music. With his Black Needle Noise project, he pursues his own creative inclinations with a plethora of guest performers at his disposal – in some ways, it’s almost a continuation of the collaborative This Mortal Coil, of which he was a consistent member, with Black Needle Noise employing a variety of vocal talents to craft a cohesive helping of blackened, bluesy gothic moods.

Beginning with the sultry percussive stabs of guitar and horn on “Wild Stone,” Zia’s voice drifting effortlessly between haunting smokiness in the verses to ethereal harmonies in the chorus starts off Before the Tears Came in a lushly dramatic fashion that persists from track-to-track. Jarboe brings her renowned bleak sensuality to tracks like “Vexation” and “Human,” evoking a ghostly romantic quality that with the strums of crystalline guitar and chilling electronics is sure to remind many of her past work with Swans, while the steely bass and pulsating electronics of “Naughty Girl” topped off by Spectra Paris’ slithery, glitchy voice makes for one of the album’s more aggressively satisfying moments. The same can be said of “Behind the 4th Door” with Elena Alice Fossi’s strikingly fluid voice bringing an almost Motown quality to the bouncy electro beats and waves of shrill synthesized atmosphere. Other tracks take on a more decidedly gothic blues feel like “Queen of Dust” with its powerful beats, swirls of slide guitar and noisy electronics, topped off by the sullen croon of Antic Clay or the eerily minimalist “3 Steps Backwards” with Ledfoot’s sustained howls playing well with the twinkling piano tones and insect-like chirps of IDM glitches.

Most gothic blues albums tend to delve into some form of nostalgia, implying the more haunted aspects of classic Americana. While this is certainly an element in Before the Tears Came, Fryer’s pristine production flourishes and darkly evocative, even cinematic atmospheres given the album a decidedly modern touch that reminds this writer of Dark City – a conglomeration of different talents recalling different eras into a sonic stylistic mishmash that is at once alien and familiar. Before the Tears Came is not an easygoing listening experience… but it’s certainly an engaging and memorable one.
Track list:

  1. Wild Stone (feat. Zia)
  2. Vexation (feat. Jarboe)
  3. 3 Steps Backwards (feat. Ledfoot)
  4. Mourning Morning (feat. Andreas Elvenes)
  5. Queen of Dust (feat. Antic Clay)
  6. Human (feat. Jarboe)
  7. Messages by Dreams (feat. Attasalina)
  8. Behind the 4th Door (feat. Elena Alice Fossi)
  9. Dead Star (feat. Betsy Martin)
  10. Naughty Girl (feat. Spectra Paris)
  11. I Face the Wall (feat. Dr. Strangefryer)

Black Needle Noise
Website, Facebook (Black Needle Noise), Facebook (John Fryer), Twitter, Bandcamp, YouTube
Purchase at:
Amazon MP3
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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