Black Map is one of the bands that as soon as I heard, I instantly fell in love with. Armed with the riffs, pummeling rhythms, and right amount of melody, Black Map have cemented themselves amongst the rock world. As a three piece the magnitude of volume emitted from Ben Flanagan (vocals/bass), Mark Engles (guitar), and Chris Robyn (drums) is astounding. Their new album Melodoria is a catchy, inquisitive and etherial driven album.
From the moment the first song “Chasms” kicks things off with that riff, you the listener are truly in for an experience. Black Map didn’t put together a collection of songs, they made an album that demands you listen and soak it all in. Across the ten songs on the album, there are many different vibes that shape the record and take you on a journey. One of the best things about Black Map is the velvetly delicate vocals of Ben Flanagan. Not only can you hear what he’s singing but with each line and verse and listen you get more and more engrossed in the subject matter and the thunderous bass tone that packs one hell of a punch. Mark Engles guitar work on this album is on par with his brightest moments in Dredg. There will always be a tinge of Dredg in this band but, the way it’s used brings in a different element that adds a level of atmosphere and space to the hard driving riffs. And who can forget the absolutely devastating drums provided by the one and only Chris Robyn. The combination of all three of these gentleman has made for one hell of a band and 3 albums of pure and honest rock music.
A band like Black Map is a breath of fresh air in a musical climate where programmed drums and taking the easy way out has become acceptable. Black Map was founded on the premise of being a heavy rock band with melody and they really have delivered the goods on Melodoria. They’ve achieved and found their sound on this album. Taking the best of what the first two albums offered, mix that with the maturity and development and you really have a recipe for a damn good album. I really recommend putting this album while on a drive and letting it take you over. It’s one of those albums that will grow on your in different ways. It hits you in all the right ways depending on where you are at in that moment. Black Map deserves to be played on every stereo and loud. Go see them live when you get a chance, they will rock you for damn sure!
Recommended Tracks: Chasms, Super Deluxe, Madness, Witching Hour, Melodoria
For the past couple weeks I’ve been eagerly anticipating seeing Black Map again live and for the live debut of Centershift and it most certainly did not disappoint! It’s really interesting to be seeing shows again after being away from them for so long. There seems to be a new life for live music and the bands. Sort of an invigorating sense of let’s go out there and kill! And this evening was just that…
Centershift is one of my favorite new bands. For a three piece band, these guys pack the volume for sure. Riding high off their debut single “9,” Centershift took the stage and immediately opened a can of whoop ass on the crowd. Singer/guitarist Jasan Radford (who you might know from Onesidezero/Abloom), was right at home on stage and that voice of his, resonated so well through their set. You could tell people were getting more and more into it with each note played and lyric sung. Bassist Ted Wenri and drummer Mike Tarabotto are a dominant force of a rhythm section. The prowess they played with really helped to leave a real impression with the audience as well as how tight they are. The other songs they played and debuted all kicked some major ass. Be on the look out for their songs “My Own World,” “Tell Me,” and “11.” Those songs were absolute BANGERS! Centershift has this really cool sound that fits perfectly well with Black Map. Their sound has a bit of a Quicksand/Thrice vibe mixed with a little bit of other 90’s tinges. Centershift is a band that should be on your radars as they will be a name you won’t want to miss.
Black Map is one hell of a band. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing them since they came on the scene and I have to say, like a fine scotch or wine, they’ve only gotten better. As a three piece, it’s astounding how huge they sound. The combination of singer/bassist Ben Flanagan, guitarist Mark Engles and drummer Chris Robyn is an absolute force. Their set this evening was stunning. Picking songs from all their albums including their upcoming one, Melodoria (out Nov 5), Black Map tore up the stage. Songs like “I’m Just The Driver,” “Run Rabbit Run” “Let Me Out,” “No Color” all were stellar and the new songs “Chasms,” “Super Deluxe,” and “Madness (my personal favorite from the new album at the moment)” were impeccable and shows even more growth in their songwriting.
This was a terrific show. Seeing both bands at The Whisky was even better. The history of the venue makes shows like this one special. I have to say too, The Whisky sound was awesome this night. The bands sounded great and the vibe inside was just perfect. Black Map and Centershift is a match made in musical heaven. I’m going to be selfish here but, I really want a full tour with both bands. Hearing them back to back was absolute bliss. What a great night full of great bands, music, people and good times. This is what the music scene should be like. Do yourself a favor and go listen to and see to Centershift and Black Map when they come through your town. You’ll for sure thank me later!!!