The Trophy Fire

Title Tracks: Black Map- And We Explode

And We Explode | Black Map

Since I first heard about Black Map, I’ve been super stoked about them. I’ve had the pleasure to see them a few times as well as sit down with Ben and Mark for an interview. They are one of the best rock bands out there today and continue to impress and get better with each release. Their debut album has one of my favorite title tracks I’ve ever heard in “And We Explode Parts 1 & 2.” This song (let’s just call it one song), packs so much passion and awesomeness in it. The melody that accompanies the riffs and rhythms are pristine and are smooth as butter. It’s really a great showcase for how good of songwriters Black Map are along with players. If you haven’t heard Black Map before, you should definitely change that! Also, if you are in the Los Angeles area at the end of September (Sept 28 to be exact), Black Map is playing at The Whisky with my homies in Centershift.

Black Map- And We Explode Part I:

Black Map- And We Explode Part II:

Band Of The Week: Black Map


I’ve talked about this band a lot, reviewed their shows and interviewed them. They are one of the best new bands I’ve heard in a long time. I can’t stop listening to their Driver EP. They deserve all the good that is coming to them. Their balance of being a heavy rock band with melody is beyond intriguing. For a power trio they really put out a lot of volume. The drums are thumping and pounding courtesy of the heavy hitting Chris Robyn. The guitars are delicate and crisp when they need to be and then change in to distorted crunchy heaviness thanks to Mark Engles. The bass is driving and plays off the riffs so well. Vocally the range of Ben Flanagan is astounding. His ability to hit high notes then go to a gruff scream is tremendous. Black Map is one hell of a gem to see live. There is so much energy that it permeates through the crowd. Be on the look out for their debut fill length soon!

By: Brian Lacy

Live Review: Chevelle and Black Map at The Wiltern

Chevelle_2 Chevelle_1

With the times changing and album sales decreasing, longevity isn’t one of the most promising things to relate to in the music industry today. There are a few bands that have been able to really hold their place and still pack a punch. Chevelle is one of those bands. Since the release of their album Wonder What’s Next, they have been packing venues and releasing a steady catalog of solid rock albums. Friday night at the Wiltern, was tremendous. Chevelle’s 90 minute set blazed through their hits, deep cuts from their album Wonder What’s Next, and songs from their latest release La Gargola. The light show that accompanied the band was stunning. The blasts of light matched perfectly with every beat of Sam Loeffler’s drums. Pete Loeffler’s voice live, mixed with that of brother-in-law, Dean Bernardini (bass/vocals), were in perfect unison. The crowd’s age ranged from late teens all the way to late 30’s and even early 40’s. You could definitely tell the long time fans, especially when songs like “Closure,” “Forfeit,” “Comfortable Liar,” and “Grab Thy Hand” were played.


The direct support was the exceptional Black Map from San Francisco. This power trio of Ben Flanagan (bass/vocals), Mark Engles (guitar/vocals) and Chris Robyn (drums) left the Wiltern in shambles after their set. Formed only a year ago and featuring members of Dredg, Far, and The Trophy Fire, Black Map is definitely a site to see! All the songs off their debut EP Driver and those from their upcoming full length were played and to great reaction. Ben’s voice is one of the purest and uncompromising voices in the rock genre today. The tone of the guitar of Mark still has some of the elements from Dredg, but adds more of a heavier grit. Chris still has the fury he played with in Far and some new energy, thanks to his new bandmates. Black Map has come out at the right place and right time. They are on their way to stealing the show from anyone they play with and making a name for themselves.

Opening the show was another trio called Highly Suspect from New York. While they were a decent opening band, there was something missing with them. The singer/guitarist was the most enjoyable part of the band. His voice was stellar and reminded me of the singer from Kings Of Leon (in a total good way). Though, throughout their set I couldn’t contain my excitement for seeing Black Map and Chevelle.

All in all this was a great night for rock music. Having Chevelle firing on all cylinders (no pun intended), and Black Map rocking the stage was the perfect blend of melodic heaviness.

Chevelle Set List:

1. The Clincher
2. Grab Thy Hand
3. Send The Pain Below
4. Sleep Apnea
5. Take Out The Gunman
6. An Island
7. Closure
8. Forfeit
9. Vitamin R (Leading Us Along)
10. Envy
11. Hunter Eats Hunter
12. Hats Off To The Bull
13. I Get It


14. The Red
15. Comfortable Liar
16. Face To The Floor

Black Map Set List: (abridged names)

1. Code
2. Gold
3. Hills
4. Eyes
5. Ropes
6. Mellee
7. Chinaski
8. Gemini
9. I’m Just The Driver

By: Brian Lacy

Photos by: Alisa Diaz

Black Map: Live at The Viper Room


When it was first announced that Dredg’s Mark Engles, Far’s Chris Robyn and The Trophy Fire’s Ben Flanagan had gotten together to play music, the hairs on my arms stood up (all in a good way). The three formed the band Black Map, a melodic hard rock band that shows the harder side of what they all have to offer. In a live setting they are undeniably awesome. Their live show is intense as it is raw and powerful. Chris plays with the same intensity that he’s played with since back in the FAR days, only this time he has added more groove to his playing. Mark has a very unique tone with Dredg and parts of that carry over but in this band you can tell his love for the heavier side of things, especially with the riffs he plays. Ben has a great sense of melody with his voice and his bass tone is thick and driving. All three of these guys make what a power trio should be. Their set at the Viper Room on Saturday night was inspiring. Despite a few technical issues, they were on fire. Playing the four songs from their EP and others yet to be released, everyone in the audience was really into it. The unreleased songs has a great balance of melody and heaviness. Even their banter in between songs provided a few chuckles while at the same time engaging to everyone. I can’t wait to see them again.

Their debut EP DRIVER is 4 songs of nothing but fantastic. Kicking off the E.P. is “I’m Just The Driver.” This song is what a lead of track should be as well as a great introduction to what the sound of the band is.  The next track “Gold” has a melodic edge to it all the while rhythmically driving. “Head For The Hills” showcases Ben’s vocal ability as powerful rock singer. The music that accompanies the song is melodic in nature and shows off more of what Mark can do on his guitar. The closing track “Ropes” is a great song that features a rocking sing along (which has been missing from rock music in general). Musically this song has a nasty vibe to it with it’s dirty bass and pounding drums, but also has a sheen to it with the guitars bouncing back and forth between clean and distorted.

Black Map has recently stated that they have enough songs for a full length which they hope to have out later this year as well as lots more shows to come. These guys are the real deal, they know how to write great songs and bring back hard rock with melody!


By: Brian Lacy