Exeter, Devonshire (UK) rock and alt metal impresarios SANGUINE — featuring Tarin Kerrey on vocals and with Nick Magee on guitar + vox, Ross Andrew on bass and Matt Feld on drums & keys — have been working on their awesome studio album “Black Sheep” since about 2012.
The album was produced and mixed by Swedish genius Daniel Flores, mastered by Mats Lindfors, and includes a collaboration on two tracks courtesy of In Flames guitarist Jesper Strömblad.
The album title “Black Sheep” is, perhaps, inspired by Tarin’s feelings of estrangement from her family (leading to homelessness and a period of sleeping in stairwells).
Although the title song is brutal (like other songs on this disc) — it also seems clear that the band maintain a healthy, buoyant and positive frame of mind. This comes over in the way they work with each other and how they demonstrate their ambitions— almost in every note played.
We had a listen to the album:
Intro track ‘Breaking Out‘ is cinematic and mind-expanding. With deep sorrowful rivulets of darkness that stab out of the framework and into the ears. The vocal is unleashed clean (but no less angry and turbulent) and seems as insistent as a tigress breaking free from her chains.
‘Pretty Girl‘ has a fascinating array of wonky-limbed riffs and a strained voice that suggests a master puppeteer is at work behind the scenes. And that is perhaps the point of this song. Tarin sings like a poppet possessed. But not by a malignant spirit. But possessed by a treacherous world. The voice is irascible and shines above the dark smoky-trilling guitars. And the chorus is more addictive than smoke ‘n’ pain.
‘Breathe Out‘ is one of the Jesper Strömblad tracks (also co-written by Strömblad with Kerrey and Magee) and it is a thing of exquisite beauty. The voice is cold and hurts like a steel shaft piercing a soft heart. This is a stand-out track on the album. Musically, it is a snowfall of ideas and and patterns.
‘Black Sheep‘ is probably the darkest piece here. A thickly brooding tangle-wood of sounds — with guitars that corrupt and slither like eels under intense voice-work. The vocal reminds us of Californian alt-metal artist Tairrie B. With nu metal spirit and a nod towards hybrid creativity.
The album ends with ‘Whole World‘ which is a return to hard rock with acoustic roots. In other words: The fury is held off (but the excitement is not.) It’s a fitting power-ballad conclusion (complete with rippling piano and excellent support vox). It is also, mysteriously and hypnotically, totally dramaticool.
This is a phenomenal alt-rock album. Demonstrating contradictory styles… from mellow orchestrations to full blown metal crescendos via the (always) thoroughly fascinating and extremely emotional guiding influence of Tarin Kerrey.
Words: @neilmach 2015 ©
Black Sheep – Sanguine is out now via Odyssey Music
Next show Cavern Club, Exeter, UK 28 DEC 2015