» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Pitch Black
Pitch Black
Revelation Records

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
Hailing from the San Francisco "Bay Area", Pitch Black is a quartet that includes a keyboard player in addition to a standard punk lineup. No edge is sacrificed for the addition of eerie synth harmony, as the harder tracks may evoke images of leather and spike-clad youth running and clashing mindlessly like exploding human-jellyfish.

Kevin Cross's coarse vocals have the brattiness of Johnny Rotten on steroids and crack, with a shotgun. The lead vocals may bring to mind the more hardcore side of NoFx. Pitch Black's dark, energetic punk is complemented by in-your-face lyrics that are more like shit-talking with a death fixation than contemplative and meaningful. It's all in good fun, though, as the whole album is a blackened rock-n-roll cartoon, matching the cover art. The younger crowd is obviously targeted, though the hardcore aspect may appeal to listeners who usually choose more mature music.

We are introduced to Pitch Black with "The Wrath", a screamer with pounding double bass and changing rhythms. The varying intensity of the riffage highlights the potential of the band, with themes that are expanded throughout the album. "Destructive Criticism" and "Half Empty" follow strongly, leaving us at the fourth track, entitled "The Bride". This one is structured much like Samhain's "Let The Day Begin", but has more popular appeal. "Resting Place" is a high point, consisting of chiming guitars and a ballad-upbeat-ballad format. "Rock And Roll Girl" is two minutes of careless graveyard swingin' spirit. A handful of harder punk tracks round out the album, packed with plenty of owls, bats, and bells.

Pitch black is a leaf on a branch of dark punk that has The Misfits to thank as its predecessors. Forming in the Bay Area in October 1999, this band has surely enjoyed (if not partially inspired to form by) fellow bay-area goth-punkers AFI's immense success and growing popularity, which creates a desire for bands with some similarities. Of course, this sub-genre of punk existed in different forms before the most recent wave, and the further building of subculture around it is justified. The question concerning Pitch Black is whether their trendiness will prove an advantage or disadvantage.

Quite vivacious for their death theme, Pitch Black's ability to delve into more thought-provoking lyrics may be seriously limited. It would seem, however, that they have no desire to pursue such a path. While any meaning can be threaded into a scream, this particular band seems content to be a fun and semi-poppy hardcore punk band with references to its darkened musical environment. One may expect a cover of "The Monster Mash" down the road.

It will be interesting to see where Pitch Black is in five years, as the punk-goth fad will likely have passed at the more mainstream levels (but never completely). If they keep it demented and fast, they could continue to work themselves into the niche that they have been carving with their sellout live shows. However, there is also potential for the expansion of the lighter guitar and keyboard combination melodies, as well as a general "rock" attitude that occasionally threatens to take over. The novelty of their image may or may not keep them afloat, but their ability to weave synth melodies through the unrelenting barrage of punk rockets may save them a comfortable seat in the future.

Reviewed by Lance Birch

See other reviews by Lance Birch



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