BLACK MARIA - A Shared History Of Tragedy

Black Maria - A Shared History Of Tragedy

11 songs
42:21 minutes
***** ****


Lead Us To Reason by The Black Maria was one of the most astonishing debuts I've been listening to in a long time. A good year later, they release A Shared History Of Tragedy, an album in the line of the debut, but going however a step further. This is a positive surprise as there have been two line-up changes, especially when you consider that Grade musician Kyle Bishop, who was playing the guitar and doing the second voice, isn't aboard anymore.

The opener The Perilous Curse is well chosen as it immediately shows the strength behind The Black Maria. It's a real smasher that immediately sticks and can't be forgotten anymore. Melodic emo core is the main ingredient of The Black Maria's music, but it's never sounding too wimpy. Nearly every song has at least a little screamo intermezzo, most of the time towards the end of a track. But there's also a huge pop appeal in the music where The Black Maria make me think of an emo version of Linkin Park and Nickelback. Frontman Chris Gray is one of the best rock singers I can think of, and parallels to Paul Stanley (Kiss) are clearly present (this is meant to be a compliment). Most songs are midtempo rock and suitable for radio airplay without coming across as too commercial. There are some weirder songs like the fast Lucid and the noisy Call to Arms. Fans of slower tunes will like the ballads Van Gogh and Living Expenses. The symphonic A Thief In The Ranks is sounding strongly like a Kiss midtempo track. As you can see, variation is the most important component for The Black Maria as there are not two songs on the album sounding alike.

The very special combination of unusual melodies with pop appeal, emo and screamo parts, dramatic and hectic parts gives the music a modern touch so that The Black Maria can be considered a postcore band. And they have proved that emo core does not necessarily have to sound always the same. But it will be quite difficult for The Black Maria to make a similar huge improvement for the next album. But until then, let's enjoy this one!

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