The Black Heart Procession


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With even the cartoon goths of Marilyn Manson or Orgy pretending they've always understood black sheep anguish, it might come as a surprise that the true lineage of black-clad moroseness isn't with industrial shock rock or flashy New Order covers. Fortified with minimal album titles, obsessively dank imagery, and gasping instrumentation, the Black Heart Procession's third album tries to convince real iconoclasts that there's a seedier side to depression than one developed by watching old Cure videos. For the most part, such teachings are strong. The band mumbles more tales of romantically crushed adoration ("Till We Have to Say Goodbye") and torn loyalty ("The War Is Over") with a building, restrained fury sounding more realized than before. Even when the band has more songs with the word "heart" in the title, they seem to manage to distill a feeling of postwar brooding that is just ominous enough to warrant a third time out. It just might take some time to start moving away from the indulgent ocean imagery ("Now you know there's no light on the waves/but before I turn there's just one last word") or the Nick Cave piano pastiche to unleash what an album like this promises. Black Heart Procession is possibly different enough to pull it off too. They don't fit into America's climate; if anything, they are often like the morose, depressed sibling to the obtuse rural grandeur of bands like Mercury Rev or Grandaddy. Is this the new goth? Who knows. But if it is, it's one thankfully devoid of histrionic make-up and strobe lights. One that hints of the seething, looming danger of unseen Americana.

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