Album Premiere: Black SitesUntrue

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We’re proud to present the third album from Black Sites for all you (proggy) heavy metal lovers!

Many here loved Trials, or at least their swansong, This Ruined World. It’s not an album that gets thrown around a lot, at least anymore, despite its fairly unique and very striking, thrash-based modern metal combo. In fact, it rarely seems to be mentioned outside Black Sites features anymore and I cannot claim innocence on the matter either. I loved Trials’ last and I was very fond of Black Sites’ debut, but the connection between the two is not personal affection but the shared duo of guitarists Mark Sugar and Ryan Bruchert.

By comparison to its predecessor, In Monochrome looked further and deeper into the history of heavy metal to create something that was based on old school heavy metal but decidedly modern sounding, both in production and in direction, freer in arrangements and afflicted with none of the nostalgia fumes that usually preside over such territory. Their sophomore record, Exile, better integrated the prog-influences and tightened their songwriting. You’d think the idea was simple enough that more bands would have risen to the challenge, but Black Sites has been left to rule their dominion in peace.

The band’s third full-length album, Untrue, keeps to the established sound but not without trick of its own. Perhaps the most easily distinguishable, and in a sense, most notable of these is the production courtesy of Sanford Parker. It’s drier than before, highlighting the sharp edges of the riffs, instead of the former “roundness”. Much, though not all, of the blunt groove is gone as well, replaced with a more beating rhythm and, dare I say, a more enforced presence of shred. While Untrue doesn’t sound as decidedly modern as the preceding two albums, nothing on it suggests Black Sites has any more interest in becoming a backwards- looking piece of nostalgia furniture than before.

The wavy leads of “Lost Tribes”, infectious hooks of “Call It By Its Name”, the swirling Voivod riffs on “Echo of a Lie” and the slow burn of “White Ashes” culminating in a heart-rending solo are as Black Sites as anything the group’s put out before, and among their best work to date. It brings me no small amount of pleasure to be able to bring you Untrue right ahead of its release.

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