If this is your first encounter with THE BLACK LEAGUE, I should warn you about two things; 1) their music is pretty messy but still brilliant, 2) due to the nature of this music, it wouldn't hurt to enjoy a cold beer while listening to this band, it actually enhances the songs, just a tip. To describe the sound the bands sound isn't as easy as one might think, this EP doesn't sum up half of what THE BLACK LEAGUE stands for, if you want the full package check out "Ichor" and Utopia A.D.".
Moving on then, this is their second release, an EP with a total of six songs; four new ones, a cover of Nick Cave's "City Of Refuge" and a rework of the tune "The Sunday Song" which originally appeared on the "Ichor" LP limited edition.
The new material is a bit different from the "Ichor" album. Different doesn't necessarily mean they've changed style, it's more like an expansion of the sound the guys built-up on "Ichor", I'll give you some examples of the league's versatile approach to their music: "1% - Doomsday…Now" plays on fast and heavy Death'n'Roll, "Many A Good Man" begins with an odd speed injected Country Rock like rhythm then shifts into a farmer Metal thing with a cool chorus. There are also mellow moments, "Black Java" has a very slow and depressive tempo combined with hammond organs and hangover vocals from the brilliant Taneli Jarva, who gave us immortal classics like "Amok" and "North From Here" together with his band mates in SENTENCED. "The Sunday Song" oozes of Blues Rock, throw in some wah-wah bass and bottle sounds and you've got yourself a weird song. The cover of "City Of Refuge" works well despite the endless repetition of the chorus and finally we have "Sanguinary Blues" concentrating more on groovy rhythms and good old Rock'n'Roll. The EP has a very messy but solid sound and was recorded at the famous Tico Tico Studios.
So all in all a good release from Finland's bad boys, just remember the booze when listening to THE BLACK LEAGUE. (Online February 6, 2004)