Don't you just love it when a band seemingly comes out of nowhere slaps you around the face and demands you give them attention. This is what happened when Desert Psychlist heard Black Eagle's debut full length album "Iconoclasm".
Black Eagle are, Daniel Mikey Butruk (lead vocals), Zane Fraley (lead guitar), Elliot Diggs (rhythm guitar), Dillon Sting Rey (bass) and Tyler Miles (drums), five musicians from Arizona who in their own words say "We're gonna make it big, no matter what".
Throwing convention to the wind Black Eagle start "Iconoclasm" by throwing the listener something of a curveball in the shape of "Valhalla", a delicious and wonderfully addictive acoustic guitars workout that reminded Desert Psychlist of gypsy jazz guitarist Bireli Lagrene's rockier moments (fans of acoustic guitar should really check him out).
Things get back to some semblance of hard rocking normality with the next track "Journey Through Black Mountain" a storming six minutes of fuzz heavy Wolfmother-like groove coated in clean but slightly maniacal vocals.
"Wilting Fixtures" is up next and has a more alt-rock feel with a mix of grunge crooned and stoner roared vocals around a Nirvana-esque quiet/loud/quiet structure.
Black Eagle opt for a more stoner/hard rock feel for their next track "Bad Trip" a song that had this been the seventies would of most certainly have been the choice for an assault on the music charts. The song rides a fuzz drenched metal groove infused with totally addictive vocal melodies and boasts a stunning earth scorching guitar solo.
"Wûrmwood" begins with sirens wailing then suddenly explodes into an uptempo thrash-like metallic groove coated in throaty slightly hardcore vocals, and heralds the albums shift into a harder edged sound.
"The Elite" uses a neo-classical guitar passage as its intro before segueing into a sludge drenched groove replete with heavy distorted guitar riffage and harsh gutteral vocal tones, a groove and feel that crosses over into the next track.
"Anubis" takes the sludge-lite attack of the previous track and removes the "lite" completely, replacing it with Baroness/Mastadon like groove and intensity as well as adding a slight NWOBHM undercurrent to make things even more interesting.
"Mageslayer" is a pacey stoner metal riff-fest overlaid with a variety of differing vocal tones that swings back and forth between heavy fuzzed riffage and gentle acoustic arpeggios.
"Raygun" sees the band hitting a heavy thrash groove with the bass and drums leading from the front and the guitars sitting further back in the mix the resulting groove coming across like an inverted Slayer.
Black Eagle drop things down a few gears for next track "Cosmic Waltz" a slow burning anthemic tome that mixes elements of grunge and stoner around clean male and female vocals.
The band close with a delightful instrumental, "Joyce" jams a sort of Colour Haze meets Pink Floyd vibe that builds layer by layer and finishes on a stunning feel drenched guitar solo.
Usually I finish a review with a brief paragraph summing up the album but I think I should once again let the band have their say... "We are an ambitious band, we are a powerful band, we are Black Eagle"
Check 'em out ....