I could tell you that Pennsylvania’s hardcore/powerviolence outfit Black Mask’s newest release, Lost Below is a good album. I would be lying.
Because Lost Below isn’t a good album.
It’s a fantastic one. From start to finish, Black Mask bring forth one of the grittiest hardcore albums out this year. Ever since I heard the self-titled ep two years ago, I was a fan. I waited for new material, and when Black Mask finally gave us something (the song “Surface” on the Toxicbreed mixtape), it was a herald of the heavy that was to come.
Lost Below is, on every level, just as good (and better!) than the self-titled Black Mask release. The music is heavy, grim and punctuated by blast beats, screeching feedback, and sudden, pitfall breakdowns. Right from the starting track of “Extinction”, you get the feeling you are in for a helluva rollercoaster ride. “Tormented”, my personal favorite of the album, is just downright killer: angry riffs (angry everything, really), grim vocals and a breakneck pace. All of this leads up to a dark declaration of “I am digging my own grave” followed by a guitar riff that is bound to pull any listener out of whatever mosh retirement they have placed themselves in. “Loss” continues the breakneck pace with small staccato moments of feedback, before the song comes screeching to a halt for syncopated beats and feedback that leads into the next track, which slows the pace down from the previous songs, but proves to be no less heavy than previous tracks. “Judgement” is another stellar song on this album: progressive chords, syncopated drums, and multiple vocal parts make it an interesting song. “Profound Illusion”, the longest song on this album, starts off grindingly slow, but quickly picks up to the roller-coaster speed we’d been hearing from the rest of the album, with all the characteristics that Black Mask puts into their music. Lost Below ends a short 7 minutes after it starts, which is the only disappointing aspect of the album, and one that is easily resolved.