During the early ‘10s, a strange act from Texas using the moniker The Great Tyrant appeared. Through their unconventional line-up, which included synths, drums, bass and vocals, The Great Tyrant projected a vision of extreme experimental music through doom laden riffs, psychedelic interludes and a blackened demeanor. Unfortunately the band would come to an unexpected end with the death of bassist Tommy Atkins, but thankfully Daron Beck and Jon Teague would carry on with a spiritual continuation of The Great Tyrant in Pinkish Black.
Since their inception Pinkish Black has been on a tear, unleashing their very strong self-titled debut in 2012, and remaining very active through the coming years. In 2013 the band would release the excellent Razed to the Ground and they would follow with their most impressive work to date in their Relapse debut Bottom of the Morning. In the same year Relapse would also release the lost second full-length from The Great Tyrant, The Trouble With Being Born, solidifying the sovereignty of Pinkish Black in the experimental scene. However, at the same time the prolific era of the duo would come to an end and Pinkish Black went into a stage of hibernation, which thankfully ends now with the release of Concept Unification.
Everything for Pinkish Black starts from the ambiance, where their combination of psychedelic influences and their blackened perspective proves instrumental in constructing a trademark eerie tonality. The opening track introduces this idea perfectly, while the fantastic inclusion of background vocals aids in creating one of the more occult-esque moments of the record. Similarly, “Dial Tone” sees the heavy bass lines merge with the psychotropic background to create a mystical experience, while “Inanimatronic” takes a detour through the heavier region of industrial music to set its dim tone.
This amalgamation of elements is not isolated on the ambient moments of Concept Unification. On the record’s aggressive side the band makes impeccable use of their doom basis with all its slow, glacial pace and unearthly weight, yet incorporating psychedelic elements to take it over the top. “Dial Tone” is a prime example of this approach, as the doom gloom becomes overwhelming, with the duo however not compromising any of their ethereal and atmospheric edge.
It is in part the versatility of the synths that allow for these uncanny transformations and seamless transitions. This is where Pinkish Black truly shine, as they move through a series of retro, ‘80s induced high-pitched sounds, as is the case with the opening track. The progressive take on “Petit Mal” also carries much of this nostalgic touch, with a timbre reminiscent to something that would appear in the soundtrack for an obscure cyberpunk film. Still, this attitude then washes into moments where it is hard to believe that these guys do not include electric guitars in their instrumentation. “Until” comes in with one of the sickest riffs of this year, with its heavy presence causing the whole scenery to crumble.
Still, despite all the intricate moulding of sounds, genres and eras, where Pinkish Black truly prevail is with their songwriting prowess. The record’s closing track, the epic twelve minute long “Next Solution” presents the ability of the duo to morph through the dark corridors of their sonic vision, without losing focus. Through harrowing ambiances, ritualistic chants, dystopian overtures and psychedelic peaks, Pinkish Black produce an exhilarating and at the same time excruciating ride. A fitting end to a stunning release.