Black Flak and the Nightmare Fighters
It’s Only Permanent
Black Flak and the Nightmare Fighters = Staind x Explosions in the Sky
Haunting, morose and powerful are the words that rest foremost in my mind when I think of Black Flak and the Nightmare Fighters’ second full-length album, It’s Only Permanent. Black Flak and the Nightmare Fighters use somber progressions and melodies, as well as reverberant licks to craft each of their songs. It’s the kind of music you might put on just before sitting down in a dark corner for some deep brooding—and for that purpose, it’s truly excellent. If, however, you’re looking for an upbeat, cheerful album, then you might want to look elsewhere.
Precise drums, powerful bass, two guitars and a haunting collection of vintage sound clips loosely pushing a narrative centered on suicide, despair and hardship all set the scene for the album. The orchestration is powerful. Intense riffage and head-pounding grooves split up the airy melancholy of the band’s sound frequently, but overall, the album leans toward dark, eerie textures and reverberant, caliginous melodies.
It’s Only Permanent is a heavy album. Not the Rise Against or Lamb of God kind of heavy, but rather the kind of heavy that takes hold of your soul and holds it under the river of sorrow. The powerful bowing and the melancholic, stringy guitar-plucking of “Sunny Day Anhedonia” showcase the true depth of sadness Black Flak and the Nightmare Fighters are able to conjure. Things warm up only slightly with “Wilt” as the band uses heavier drumming, riffage and a howling melody before descending once again into dour, reverberant plucking. The album is a wash of emotions from start to end, so don’t be surprised if it pulls on your mood as you listen.
If you’re on board for a dirge of feelings, then I strongly recommend checking out It’s Only Permanent. The sound quality on the album is excellent, and the way Black Flack and the Nightmare Fighters control the emotional energy in each of their songs gives the music a lot of power. Check out the album on Bandcamp and don’t miss their upcoming show at Urban Lounge on Sept. 13. –Alex Blackburn