Black Strobe – Burn Your Own Church

Black StrobeBlack Strobe have been one of the coolest names in dance music for 10 years now. Releasing a slew of 12-inches from 1996 (including some seminal stuff on the output label between 2000-2004) have whet the appetites of fans for a long time. Now their debut album has arrived and it’s influenced by Norweigen Black Metal. Eh? I mean, this this Black Strobe: purveyors of some of the finest Euro house for the last few years (see “Me And Madonna” and “The Abwehr Disco” for examples). But Burn Your Own Church is an album that doesn’t execute the by-now-tired cliche of combining rock and dance. It combines metal and dance, with added shoegazing and electro. Originally a duo, founder member Ivan Smaghe left to pursue his DJ career (but he left behind lyrics to this album), Black Strobe are now a lean four piece band, incorporating live drums and guitars into their sound. Still unconvinced? How about a filthy cover of a Muddy Water’s song?

If anything, the cover of “I’m A Man” isn’t a fair representation of what’s on this album: as good as it is, the song’s really just a skillfully tarted up blues number. Something like “Bloodshot Eyes” has a sound that’s a staple of Burn Your Own Chuch: a post-punk beat with some smart synth effects and vocals that sound close to Nick Cave’s ghostly intonations. “You Should Be” is where the album starts to rock, despite sounding perilously close to German nu-metal titans Rammestein. “Buzz Buzz Buzz” is much more dance-orientated, despite some buzzing SFX sounds.

Burn Your Own Church isn’t a typical dance album, nor is it even a typical dance/rock hybrid. Songs like “Last Club on Earth” go for a big, stadium filling Depeche Mode sound, where was the opening track “Brenn Di Ega Kjerke” (Norweigan for Burn Your Own Church) is the one that’s going to get people’s attention. A steady build of of sounds until two minutes from the end when the guitars hit overdrive and a fucking mental double bass pedal kicks in. It’s a sublime moment and one that the album finds hard to top. That said Burn Your Own Church is good from start to finish, a rarity especially for a dance album.

Black Strobe – I Am A Man:

Black Strobe – Me And Madonna:

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