Band – Black Braid
Album – I
Country of Origin – USA
Genre – Black Metal
Release Date – August 26th, 2022
Label – Independent Release
Author – Hayduke X
In a typical week, I receive somewhere between thirty and forty digital promos for upcoming albums from various PR sources. Obviously I can’t write about all of these, and it’s certainly also true that I don’t want to write about some of them. I do, however, endeavor to give every album received at least a couple of minutes of my time. Between my career and family life, that doesn’t leave much time for exploring new music that doesn’t come in as a promo, or even old favorites. Once in a while, something catches my attention, usually thanks to social media. In those cases, I often find I like what I’ve heard, as I’ve learned whose tastes match up well with mine. I often even buy the album, digitally at least. Very rarely am I moved beyond that to write a review – I tend to save my writing, given the time and effort it takes, for promos which have been sent in a more traditional manner. On those rare occasions though, it means that I’ve stumbled onto something I find to be truly remarkable. The upcoming album I by the new black metal project known as Black Braid is one of those special releases.
I wish I remembered who first pointed out The River of Time Flows Through Me and Barefoot Ghost Dance on Blood Soaked Soil to me, as I’d like to thank them. In all honesty though, it was probably several people sharing them on social media which brought these tracks fully onto my radar. After listening, I reached out to the artist (Black Braid is a solo project) through Bandcamp. I’m grateful he responded, sending over the files for the full album so that I could do a proper review. Now that the release date is set, it’s time to sit down to write about the album in earnest. I’ve now had I for about four months and have listened obsessively. If I were to have more children (I’m not), bits of the album would probably be embedded in their DNA. I ordered the long sleeve from the mighty Labyrinth Tower when it became available and pre-ordered the Ultimate Hoodie Bundle on the first day of pre-orders for the album. As I said, I’m a little obsessed.
Little is known about Black Braid. Sole member Sgah’gahsowáh describes Black Braid as a “Native American Black Metal solo project hailing from the Adirondack Mountains.” (courtesy of https://blackbraid.us/) Musically, the project is strongly influenced by the second wave Scandinavian sound. There are enough unique elements, including two, mainly acoustic, interlude tracks to make this album stand out from second wave imitators. Perhaps the album is better described as an homage to the second wave, with subtle Native American folk influences. Regardless, I is a smoldering, rage-filled rhapsody fit for battle. As is often the case, I struggle to find the words to describe an album that is so very good. The clean, but not pristine production, help draw the listener into mesmeric waves of melodic riffs and rhythmic drums. Vocally, Sgah’gahsowáh provides an almost blackened death metal rasping growl which nests perfectly in the compositions. Black Braid has hit on something special, which will hopefully continue long into the future.
Biography: Hayduke X has been writing for MoshPitNation since June of 2016. He is also a contributor to The Metal Wanderlust. Prior to joining the MoshPitNation team, Hayduke published reviews on his own blog Rage and Frustration. In addition, he has DJ’ed an online metal radio show of the same name as his blog, written for TOmetal.com, done interviews for Metal Rules, and collaborated with The Art of B Productions to create video interviews with a wide variety of bands.