Texas synth dirge duo PINKISH BLACK (once known as the trio THE GREAT TYRANT, prior to the suicide of bassist Tommy Wayne Atkins) release its third album "Bottom of the Morning". It's the band's first for Relapse Records, home to the kings of synth-prog revival, ZOMBI. Relapse is also simultaneously releasing THE GREAT TYRANT's last recordings, "The Trouble With Being Born".
PINKISH BLACK (Daron Beck and Jon Teague) share ZOMBI's (Steve Moore and A.E. Paterra) love of Seventies and Eighties-bound horror film scores. PINKISH BLACK is darker and icier than ZOMBI, even if the acts share a love of GOBLIN and Dario Argento, whose ethereal synths are well-known to veteran horror buffs. Daron Beck commandeers a rack of synthesizers, keyboards and Mellotron while vocally droning as if threading his way out of a coma.
The effects these two emit can be so engulfing one feels thrust upon the edge of cataclysm. Frequently the air-scrubbing background shrills and fuzzy coldwave the pair weave behind their compositions can feel both atmospheric and suffocating. However, Jon Teague's clouting rhythms give "Bottom of the Morning" a heaving groove that keeps the album teetering over a proverbial fire pit.
The opening number, "Brown Rainbow", is introduced as creepily as you'd want played behind a cult horror flick and the sinister key lines are nearly satanic. In due time, Jon Teague rolls his hi-hats and floor tom, ushering the track into a galloping, unchained soar through a tarnished sky of sludge. Subsequently, the bass samples plugged into "Special Dark" ride snugly next to Teague's shuffle clumps and Daron Beck's concurrent vocal and key humming.
The album takes a nastier turn on the crawling but fantastic "I'm All Gone", where cloudy synths hover behind a fuming bass melody and Daron Beck's choked whispers and random key dots. "Burn My Body", thereafter, sounds right out of GOBLIN's "Dawn of the Dead" '78 score, darkened with purring bass plugs and Daron Beck's forlorn chiming and drowsy wailing. Yet the longer "Burn My Body" weathers on, it takes a beautifully emotive shift.
The evil bass and piano skulks of "Everything Must Go" is derived partially out of John Williams's "Jaws" score and GOBLIN's rasping haunts. PINKISH BLACK couldn't be more devilish with this track. It's both terrifying and engrossing, driven by an eruptive tempo spike, searing coldwave and eerie key squelches straight out of horror yesteryear. The Mellotron-kissed title track rolls for much of its nine-and-a-half-minutes on a jazzy kick and elongated synth notes in the essence of EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER. Don't allow yourself to get too cozy however, the second half of "Bottom of the Morning" is dragged down to a set of beleaguering tempo crashes and shattering doom chords.
The plot is ingenious, as is most of this album. Interjecting personally, I caught one of PINKISH BLACK's gigs with ZOMBI this fall and was blown away by both acts. What I witnessed, demonstrated that PINKISH BLACK (who played a sizeable chunk of this album in their set) is far more devastating in a live forum. This says much of "Bottom of the Morning" as a studio album, and it stands to reason Daron Beck and Jon Teague have not only moved on from the tragedy of Tommy Wayne Atkins's suicide, they've purged it wholly within PINKISH BLACK. Let those who can withstand these often frightening discharges bask inside their dank glories.