Heavy Psychedelia of Blackwater Prophet

Heavy Psychedelia of Blackwater Prophet

Adriana SaboMonday,1 December 2014

The Snap: 

Blackwater Prophet is a band (go figure, what else would they be?) from Spokane, Washington, that plays some really great music. It’s comprised out of Bryan Coats (drums), Beav Parker (bass) and Garrett Zanol (guitar, vocals) and they describe their music as “heavy, psychedelic, rock/blues.” It’s interesting how all these wide and not very precise terms describe what Blackwater Prophet does in a perfect way. Only recently, they released a self-titled debut album that has everything you would expect from a heavy, psychedelic, rock/blues band. And more.

The Download: 

First of all, the term that applies to all their music is most definitely “heavy,” in every sense of the words. It is slow moving and heavy, like stoner-rock heavy. Being strongly rooted in rock music, blues comes naturally to these guys. And “psychedelic” comes mostly from the voice of Garrett Zanol, recorded with the heavy (there’s that word again) use of echo, which results in the feeling that he is singing from really far away. The tempo of the songs on Blackwater Prophet is perfectly in synch with what seems to be their main objective: to create great blocks of sound that are in constant change, thanks mainly the the abundance of reverbs, echos and delays. Thus, it is not surpriring that the shortest track on the album lasts for a bit under 5 minutes.

“Down By the Riverbed” us the opening track, and it introduces the heavy blues into the sound realm of Blackwater Prophet. The guitar solo that you hear at the beginning masterfully becomes a heavy rock riff that is repeated throughout the track. Also, I can’t help but notice that Zanol’s voice resembles that of Ozzy Osbourne (but is quite less nasal), bringing some of the atmosphere of Black Sabbath. “Garden of Red” and “Kill Em All” bring the tempo up a bit, with less “heavy” and more psychedelia. The latter also introduces long and fantastic guitar solos that shows great mastery and creativity by the already mentioned Mr Zanol. The album’s fourth song, “A Horn Among Flowers,” makes a fantastic and kind of unexpected contrast, capturing the essential heaviness that dominates Blackwater Prophet. The band’s interest in experimenting with effects and moods really comes forth in this case, resulting in one great, psychedelic track. By far, the best song on the album is “Where Witches Roam.” It puts you in a special kind of trance. The repetitiveness of the riffs, the echoes of the voice and the heavy bass line definitely summon the images of shamans and different kinds of hallucinogenic trips.

Blackwater Prophet is one of those albums that will not snatch your attention immediately, but it really grows on you the longer you listen. It is not filled with catchy or bouncy melodies, it’s not fun and vibrant and positive, but this is precisely what gets your attention. You have to listen carefully, let the sound envelop you. You need to turn on your brain in order to notice all the subtle timbre changes and understand what Blackwater Prophet is all around.

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Hat Tips:

Facebook, Bandcamp, Image Credit: Flickr

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