“Choose Death”

By Dr. Abner Mality

It’s not only heavy metal that can be morbid and grim. Straight rock and blues can also fit the bill. You’re not going to find rock music more dour than Finland’s Black Magic Six.

An album called “Choose Death” and a cover image featuring a goat devil carrying a coffin usually indicates death or black metal. Here it is stripped down, super minimalist rock. There’s only two guys in BM6, so I’m not sure where the 6 comes from. This stuff makes Tom Waits seem overproduced. 10 tunes of stripped to the bone misery and evil delivered with the bare minimum necessary and a singer who sounds like he gargles with gravel. BM6 sometimes has a rockabilly approach, sometimes more of a Robert Johnson graveyard blues feel. Many of the tunes here are just bass, minimal drum kit and twangy electric guitar. Once in a while piano or banjo slides in, but not much. Cuts like “Dance With Me, Satan”, “9 to Midnight” and “Raw” throb with a kind of evil misery. It’s easy to imagine Black Magic Six playing some sleazy dive after midnight in front of a small crowd of drunks, crooks and losers.

There is clever variation between tunes that entertains while still staying morose. “16 Tons of Misery” sounds like it could have been written about 1920 while “Red Cloud” is exotic blues and “Grease The Machine” has straightforward rockabilly thrust. Songs tend to be short although “Golden Jackal” is almost five minutes and has the “biggest” sound on the record.

Very authentic sounding bluesy rock n roll misery on the always eclectic Svart label.