Friday, November 4, 2011

Band Review: Lolita Black

     Lolita Black produces a maelstrom of sound. They excel at a very hard edged, industrial influenced punk-metal type of music with overtones of mosh. There is a rich historical vein being tapped by this entity; the influence of past masters in the art of rocking out permeates this group’s essence. The contemporary esthetic that results informs us of the fact that this band exists very much in the here and now. This is reiterated again and again as the songs on their new album, ‘Flesh, Blood and Bone’, appear in the ordered succession.
     Guitarist Bob Otis had the inspiration that lead to the name of the band, which was started in 2005 after he got together with Kaleigh Crass, the drummer. According to Bob, the name seemed to fit ‘the vibe of what we were trying to write’. Continuing in this vein, it is evident that the overall esthetic of the band is very much congruent with itself. Anyone who managed to get their hands on the groups first release, ‘Into the Wastleland’, can attest to the cohesiveness of the presentation; the graphics and name fused with the music to create a menacing edifice.
     Their influences are varied, ranging from various punk, post-punk, metal and industrial bands all the way to Victorian novels, angst, despair, and sci-fi and horror movies.
     Bob’s abilities as guitarist and riff-monger have improved from the first record; he could always play, and he gets better and better. ‘Hollow’ is a great example of this. The subtle accenting in the phrasing of the riff is attacked consistently and with authority. The tight rhythmic net created by Kaleigh and bassist Jacob Blanchett provides solid support and serious bounce. They keep driving the riff forward, building an incredible amount of tension along the way. On top of all of this, Scarlett Delgado delivers as a vocalist, using her voice to enunciate the lyrics in a highly dramatic way. There’s something about her vocalizing that calls to mind Bruce Dickinson passed through the diaphragm of a woman. Her tone is clear and she actually sings the lyrics. This is refreshing.
     The rest of the album possesses this level of coherence and articulated delivery. Slower tunes alternate with faster ones. Of particular interest is the inclusion of ‘Tightrope’, a song from the first record. If memory serves, this version is more punk-rock, the rhythms tighter and more driving. Scarlett’s delivery is more dramatic than was Jessica Pacitto’s, who was the group’s first vocalist.
     This group is also adept at translating the music to a live setting. As engaging as the record is, this needs to be experienced live. Their ability to project their music, to engage the audience, is a powerful asset. They have tons of stage presence and attack each song like it’s their last. They also know how to employ lighting effects for an enhanced presentation. A recent set at as220 caught them bathed in eerie orange light. The effect was quite surreal. They are aiming at a late November/ December release. Here’s to it.

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