Album: Blackbraid I
Label: Independent and Neuropa
Release Date: 08/26/22
Location: Adirondack Mountains, New York
Written by Brian Lloyd
Blackbraid I is raw, provocative and emotional. Sgah’gahsowah the single musician on the album delivers a performance that is full of depth and meaning, showcasing an immense talent, and put quite simply; you have never heard anything quite like this. While clearly influenced by the nordic black metal scene Blackbraid pave their own path, weaving in Native American instrumentation and even sounds more associated with USBM channeling bands like Goatwhore and Wolves in the Throne Room.
Sgah’gahsowah’s vocal delivery meshes perfectly with the anguish portrayed by the music. So much so that his vocals almost become part of the music and are layered in to give the effect that his voice is almost just another instrument being played. Each of the six tracks presented here are done with such confidence and power, you’d never know you weren’t listening to a seasoned black metal band.
The production from Neil Schneider is superb, showing off layered guitar tracks, tight drums and clear vocals, for a sound that is unheard of in this style of black metal. It doesn’t sound over produced or like it was recorded in a garbage can, and while the album doesn’t deviate too much from sounding like a black metal album it also offers enough uniqueness to set itself apart from any contemporaries.
Sgah’gahsowah was born to Native American parents and taught the ways of his people before he was later adopted by white parents and given a rural upbringing just outside of Albany, New York. With lyrics covering such important topics such as The Wounded Knee Massacre and the North Dakota pipeline construction, Sgah’gahsowah is evoking a world untouched by the sounds of black metal.
Reaching the top of Bandcamp’s metal charts Blackbraid I is an independent hit. Receiving rave reviews including this one since its release in August, Blackbraid has a bright future coming and one where his message and sound are sorely needed in the black metal community.