black table – sentinel LP
A local New Jersey band with a post-black metal sound, Black Table could be likened to a more diverse Altar of Plagues. Rather than the slow, bleak ramblings of the more well-known band, which often pass ten minutes, BT offer a faster-paced and more chaotic alternative.
The Sentinel EP displays a variety of effective techniques, with both somewhat upbeat portions and heavy, really evil-sounding parts. The latter is demonstrated extremely well by the tumultuous first half of To Tear Down, and that one note at 0:15 of the Heist, when it sounds like the world is going to end. The bright trilling of post-rock guitars reminiscent of bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Explosions in the Sky is present in the middle of the title track, another variation on the band’s already established sound. Vocals are mostly delivered in an indecipherable, distorted black metal shriek, and the drums are all over the place, performed well but overbearing at times. The bass is audible and plays a central role in the title track.
Chaos works to Black Table’s advantage, though it can’t hurt to be cautious with overusing it. Still, the band has an interesting sound, and writes some structurally bizarre tracks (as expected in post-rock/metal…). When you listen, you don’t know how the song is going to end or what’s going to happen on the way there, especially with standout and title track, Sentinel. In eight minutes, it explores different influences and atmospheres. The soft parts carry strong Agalloch guidance, and it’s the most diverse and experimental song from the EP. Hopefully, the band continues to produce tracks of this quality.