Hailing from France, Black Smoke Jacket comprised of Philippe BOUYOU (lead vocals/guitars), William RICHARD (guitars), Maxime FORMEY (bass/backing vocals) and Jeremy ANDRE (drums) have been together for two years and are proving to be coming into their own with their three-song EP entitled Low. Before we go any further I have to admit when I was reading their bio on their Bandcamp it didn’t reflect what I was hearing. They claim they mix jazz, rock, blues and metal. I didn’t hear anything on this EP that even slightly resembled jazz. Black Smoke Jacket is a straightforward heavy rock band from what I heard on Low.
Low is an emotionally heavy album from a lyrical perspective that delves into losing someone. I’m not talking about breaking up with someone; I talking about someone who is close to you dying. A band member’s personal experience was the catalyst for the theme.
The EP starts off with the title track “Low.” A lone guitar is the first thing you hear but it quickly gets trampled by the rest of the band Once Bouyou’s vocals enter they are distorted but in a good way. His lyrics are ambiguous and poetic but impactful. He sings, “Morning comes and mind erased / Fortune tellers cannot prevail / Days of after never raised / Still you’ll be safe child lay down your head.” The energy of the song never lets up. No lulls or breakdowns.
The next track “Heretic” is more dynamic and gets more intense as it progresses. I wasn’t as impressed with Bouyou’s vocal performance as on the first song but the lyrics are just as well written. He sings, “Learn the book of love and hate / The next that cross your way and try / Not hesitate knife throat kill / And find that he does not exist.”
“Home is where the heart is” is a solid closer and I really enjoyed the initial guitar riff they start off with. Reminded me of something I might have heard on Appetite for Destruction. The end of the song leads to a boiling point that introduces some inventive vocal splicing techniques.
Low is a solid first effort. The band shows some potential here although some of the music seemed safe. Looking forward to seeing how the band develops.
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