Black Math Horseman, Black Math Horseman (Profound Lore 2022)

Regathering after more than a decade, Black Math Horseman release a new album.

Black Math Horseman is a band from LA comprised of the musicians Sera Timms (bass, vocals), Ian Barry (guitar), Bryan Tulao (guitar), and Sasha Popovic (drums). They originally got together in 2007 and released a demo. More importantly, their debut album, Wyllt, came out in 2009 and cast an entirely different light on the heavy music scene with the way it created hypnotic expressions in such a chaotic space. A few years later, they parted.

In 2020 the group came back together. Sera Timms says about the re-meeting, “At first, the conversation was about how we were all in different places now, and could we even go back to being that band that we were? … Maybe we’d write completely different music now—and we were all open to that.” Instead, “When we started jamming again, we didn’t sound any different. We discovered that the music that comes from us four together is something that we have no control over. It just happens. It’s a recipe that’s beyond us.”

Fans know what to expect from this new album. It is composed as a single musical piece. Although it is split into four parts, it is meant to be heard all at once. It does work best that way. “The essence of the album is overcoming a great enemy, a great adversarial force, and reaching a place of harmony that has never been found before,” Timms says. “You go to a dark place and destroy relationships that you love, all based on ego. Eventually, you have nothing. And when you have nothing, you have to find a new way of doing things. That’s where we’re at now as a band and family, and that’s also the theme of the record.”

The four movements are “Black Math Horseman,” “Boar Domane,” “The Bough,” and “Cypher.” As described by Timms, this is indeed a journey. The music is trance-inducing post-rock, and it has a clear ritual feel to it at times. I hear elements of black metal come through, especially in the lead guitar passages, while the vocals are beautifully lyrical. The coexistence of these near-opposites is an important aspect of the music and its achievements.

The entire cycle runs about twenty-five minutes, and while the separate movements do have their own feel and structure, you are missing something if you do not listen to it all straight through from the beginning. Let the music envelope you and get lost in the story and emotion. Recommended.

Black Math Horsman is out on Friday, October 21st through Profound Lore Records.

Band photo by Travis Shinn.




Profound Lore Records,

© Wayne Edwards

Black Math Horseman, Black Math Horseman (Profound Lore 2022)

Anomalie, Tranceformation (AOP Records 2021)

The fourth album from Austrian band Anomalie spins a preternatural web of post-black metal: Tranceformation.

Aomalie is Christian “Marrok” Brauch, joined by Lukas Schlintl on drums and percussion. Operating under this name for just over a decade, Anomalie has released three previous long-players and the EP Integra (2018).

The new album is an induced trance in six movements. The opening track is absolutely mesmerizing. It is not too much to call it hypnotic. The black metal elements are clear but they are not as prominent as the comely vocals and the melodic guitar entreaties. The percussion is held at a subdued level in the mix but the playing wicked indeed. This is “Trance I: The Tree” and if it was the only song on the album I would be satisfied, but it is only the beginning.

“Relics” is next and it lays down a pulsing groove. The track is nine minutes long and by the end you are sorry to see it go because the composition somehow keeps you transfixed the entire time. The movement from melodic to coarser vocals is seamless and occurs in synch with unseen powers that, while unexplained, make perfect sense. “Alive” is quieter overall but has some of the most urgent guitar work in its midst. By this point I was completely absorbed in the music and I had only heard side one.

The back half of the trance-set continues the work of the first part. I don’t know what I expected from this album, but what I heard was fantastic. Calling the music post-black metal isn’t wrong, but it doesn’t cover it, either. Cross-over and fusion music is sometimes disappointing because it ends up with too much of one thing or not enough of the other. But Anomalie has created something that is completely different from its constituent parts where the balance is unassailable.

Set aside some time to be taken away because when this album is on your attention cannot go anywhere else. Highly recommended.

Tranceformation is out now through AOP Records. In the US, Bandcamp is the one-stop shop.




AOP Records,

Anomalie, Tranceformation (AOP Records 2021)