The Black Queen
Release Date: February 12, 2016
The Black Queen is the new, mostly electronic, project from Dillinger Escape Plan frontman Greg Puciato and Josh Eustis (ex-Puscifer and NIN, Telfon Tel Aviv). The group also features programmer Steven Alexander who has been a tech for Dillinger Escape Plan, NIN, and Kesha. So, Fever Daydream is not entirely unlike the kind of bands Josh Eustis has been in. Really, it’s pretty similarly to them. So, obviously, if you are looking for Puciato to bring a little Dillinger to this, then you may as well just stop reading now because it’s totally different. The beats and the electronics are very eighties inspired (a sound I love, so no complaints here!) while the vocals stay darker and fairly low key.
While this isn’t the spectacular front to back listen I was hoping for, there are some pretty great individual tunes. “That Death Cannot Touch” has a dark but dancey vibe, as do the slower paced “Taman Shud” and the album opener “Ice to Never,” that I really dig. As someone who grew up in the eighties, it reminds me a lot of Arcadia as well as the deeper cuts from early Madonna and Duran and Duran records (think about the songs no one remembers from True Blue and Seven and the Ragged Tiger and you’ll have a good idea of what I’m referring to). “Maybe We Should” has a more contemporary sound, obviously influenced by Mike Patton and Bjork musically, but the soulful vocals take it to an entirely different place.
On the other hand, songs like the wandering “Apocalypse Morning, “ the bright “The End Where We Start,” and the Prince-esque “Secret Scream” are all tracks that don’t seem to be sure exactly what they want to be and they just don’t stick in your craw on repeated listens. Overall, this album has a few tracks that drew me in and a bunch of tracks that just didn’t grab me. I thought this might be my Album of the Year, but instead, it just feels like a good starting point. There are enough really interesting songs here that this is still worth checking out, though. I hope Black Queen continues to make albums because I love the idea of this, but I don’t think they are quite sure what they want to be just yet.
Reviewed by mark1340