October 28th will see the release of …And We Explode by San Francisco power group Black Map. The band, comprised of veteran musicians Mark Engles (dredg), Ben Flanagan (The Trophy Fire), and Chris Robyn (Far, ††† (Crosses)), have been hard at work on their debut LP, following country-wide tour dates with the likes of Chevelle and ††† (Crosses).
If you’re not familiar with their currently-available Driver EP, Black Map is power trio of detuned 90’s rock riffage with post-punk, pop-punk, and metal influences… somewhat along the lines of Helmet, Quicksand, or Handsome.
The upcoming …And We Explode incorporates and extends the EP nicely, leading off with heavy hitters “Code” and “Chinaski” (the latter of which will have you banging your head until next year), and then follows up with the addictive lead-off single “I’m Just the Driver”.
Black Map does show significant signs of influence from the bands that they came from: Flanagan’s vocals float somewhere between an aggressive snarl to the softer tones he exercised in The Trophy Fire, Engles’ guitar tones (while mostly much heavier and crunchier than his work with dredg) still exhibit a similar atmosphere in a number of tracks, and Robyn’s bashing of the kit brings back the energy of early Far recordings.
Although most of the album feels like constantly being shove against a wall, there are some delicate moments (namely the trance-inducing “And We Explode pt. 2”) that hint at a place to grow further in future recordings.
Bottom Line: If you are a fan of any band mentioned in this article, then you will greatly enjoy …And We Explode, especially with 12 tracks coming your way to sift through. The newer tracks are just as strong as anything on the already-released EP, making the entire new record a heavy, melodic, consistent offering from start to finish. The 90’s are strong with these guys.
Tracks to check out: “I’m Just the Driver”, “Code”, “And We Explode pt. 2”