Black Space Riders – Amoretum Vol. 2 (2018) REVIEW

The veritable explosion of ideas that now completes with this second of two volumes making up ‘Amoretum’ represents a lifetime’s worth of love for music and a songwriting session without abandon. That isn’t to say that German musician Jochen Engelking and his Black Space Riders were on a roll without direction, in fact from Volume 1 to Volume 2 you’ll get the sense that a pointed vision directed those free-flowing ideas without set limits. Although the first volume was a meticulously balanced ‘salad’ of space, stoner and prog rock channeled into a modern rock album that pushed forward into 2018, the second volume unbuckles it’s belt, fires up a joint, and finds a groove where no sub-genre is precious or unfashionable on ‘Amoretum Vol. 2’.

‘Amoretum Vol. 1’ was a vacuum of catchy tunes and smart experimentation that I resisted upon the first few listens. By the fourth listen I knew I’d be back for ten more and soon realized it was because Black Space Riders inadvertently captured the sort of rock listener that I am: Intensely critical of insincerity, morbidly fascinated with variety in guitar tone, and self-taught in sensing ‘feeling’ above all else. There was an innate connection that developed quickly that now intensifies as ‘Amoretum Vol. 2’ stretches even further as they ease between growling Clutch-esque stoner metal riffs, hardcore punk, flighty space rock (think later Cave-In doing dub), balladry, and the sweeping heavy stoner/prog rock they’ve excelled at for years.

One of my earliest and most healthy musical obsessions is perhaps Bad Brains and ‘Amoretum Vol. 2’ has three points that channel a certain spirit electricity, intentional or not, that begins to excite me even more than the polished tightness of ‘Amoretum Vol. 1’. Themes of love, unity, oppression and rebellion spike off in every direction throughout the album but “LoveLoveLoveLoveLoveLoveLoveLoveLove (Break the pattern of fear)” is a hit with me for the HR-like vocal cadence, an approximation on my part but the mixture of punkish riffs and buzzing organ sounds is a fusion with great sense attached. “The Wait is Never Over” further channels that rock-meets-dub feeling book-ending a Torche-like burnout as the 12+ minute song rides out the rest of the album. At this point it is hard not to admire that Black Space Riders have taken their sound in a hundred directions and managed to land upon rock in good taste with every try.

The meaty genius spread across the entirety of ‘Amoretum Vol. 1 & 2’ combined could perhaps never hope to connect with someone with a short attention span or fickle interest in rock music. Progressive in scope and accessible in style Black Space Riders is a free-thinker’s idyll and perhaps too ambitious for a generation of rock listeners mistreated by the last two decades of rock’s soulless, linear thinking. Of course I’d recommend starting with the first volume as it’ll open the mind with hook and earnest good intentions alike… but taken as it’s own entity this second volume is more like a slightly awkward hug from a stranger that you’ll appreciate once the panic of your social anxiety wears off. Uh, this is weird. Eh, that was cool.

There is no point where I ‘checked out’ on ‘Amoretum Vol. 2’ but there are two clusters of tracks that were most engaging. The first comes with the tenacious variety of the first six tracks, it is a trip to many of my favorite corners in the world of rock music. The songwriting skill on display communicates that this second volume isn’t moldy leftovers reheated in a microwave. The second peak begins with the duo of “Ch Ch Ch Ch” parts I and II where I found myself begin to take greater interest in the lyrical message as it more or less culminates on “Chain Reaction.” There is a positive depth to Black Space Riders‘ music if you care to engage and if not, it can simply be catchy and inventive modern rock music. Again I would suggest starting with the first volume and giving both some time to work their hooks into your mind.

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Artist Black Space Riders
Type Album
Released July 27, 2018
BUY/LISTEN on Black Space Riders’ Bandcamp! Follow Black Space Riders on Facebook
Genres
Psychedelic Rock,
Stoner Metal,
Progressive Rock,
Space Rock

Entferne die ketten. 4.0/5.0

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