. . .

One restless night I came home near midnight. I didn’t want to sleep, didn’t want to read. It was too hot to do anything other than lie around and let some sound waves envelope me.

I looked through the new music I had to check out and put on blackQueen’s new album, The Directress. They play “witch metal.” Cinematic, dark, savage, eerie. It was the perfect thing. They call it witch metal because it isn’t death or thrash but a magickal hybrid of those. The song we’re streaming below, “The Olde Religion,” is hypnotically heavy and atmospheric yet technically complex and riff-filled. It features guest vocals by Paul Pavlovich, original vocalist of Assuck and former Witch Mountain singer Uta Plotkin, providing a sonic psychic barrier.

The band says their music is “a representation of the powers of nature being channeled through a human host, and of the fear born from its misunderstood creative and destructive elements”—like what happens in Lars von Trier’s or Dario Argento’s movies. The human gets twitchy with strange, dark, destructive energy but also ends up covered in maggots and blood at some point. The band doesn’t hide that they’re strongly influenced by Italian horror films, and their music has that suspenseful, ambient soundtrack quality.

Pete Jay (original Assuck bassist) first formed blackQueen in San Francisco in 1998, during the same era that birthed such bands as Ludicra, Weakling, Impaled and Exhumed. The band produced a 7-inch demo and a subsequent EP, then went dark. Jay smartly decided to resurrect the band and released March of the Obsidian Triumvirate in 2012. His current band features Brandon Fitzsimons of industrial act Family Curse on keys.

The Directress, produced by Billy Anderson and scheduled to be released on August 1 (independent release) [Editor's note: On July 16 the release date was moved back from mid-July to coincide with the equinox], also features vocals by Joy Von Spain of Eye Of Nix and Wrest of Leviathan. Does it have to be a strangely warm and still, moonless night in order to get the most out of this music? No way. Play it right now.

— Vanessa Salvia

. . .

. . .

Follow blackQueen on Facebook.

. . .