Black Tar Prophet – Deafen (2014)
Domestic Genocide Records
Review by Jude Felton
A couple of months ago I was introduced to the thoroughly filthy world of Black Tar Prophet, through their split CD with Crawl. It contained two tunes, Judgement Whore and Hypomania, which clocked in at just less than 16 minutes. Both were more than enough to whet the appetite for more, from the Nashville duo of Greg Swinehart and Erik Dever; an appetite that has been satiated by the sludgy and grime-ridden Deafen.
To describe Black Tar Prophet’s musical style can be done one of two ways. The first of the two being the simple fact that they are an instrumental band; but that’s just plain boring isn’t it? A better way to paint the picture would be to say that they deliver a sludgy, filthy, instrumental semi-droning attack that festers in the very abscesses of the World’s rotten core. Deafen is a dark and depressing journey in which to undertake.
Opening with Dethroned, the tone is set with low-tuned bass-work and driving rhythms. I’ll tell you right now that it’s low down and dirty work, a fact that is brought into clearer light when you know that this is an album created with bass, drums and noise. It is music that penetrates deep into your core, without the unnecessary (to this band’s output) use of vocals, and I am fairly certain that the perfect accompaniment would be a smoke of the herbal variety.
Whereas Black Tar Prophet’s debut album, Note to Nod, was one lengthy song, Deafen keeps things more to the point, which the entire running time being around the 30 minute mark. Judgement Whore and Hypomania are included here, albeit in redone form with new recordings, and slip perfectly into the overall feel of the album.
In terms of production the band have gone for an incredibly rough and raw mix, which is what they were looking for, and have succeeded in capturing it perfectly. Deafen is a dirty album, in fact I’d go so far as to say that it’s downright filthy, and serves as a coursing soundtrack to an ugly world. You aren’t going to get the “cool” image with Black Tar Prophet, instead they just deliver ugly music played beautifully.
2. Judgement Whore
3. Bottom Feeder
4. Ring of Buzzards
5. Back on the Nod
6. Stoned to Death
8. Let the Cold Winds Blow
Deafen is released by Domestic Genocide Records on CD and Vinyl (Black and Green Translucent) on April 19th.