Album Review: Black Sites – Exile (Hoove Child)

Black Sites are an amalgamation of talent from Chicago’s underground music scene. Former Trials vocalist Mark Sugar is joined by his long-time collaborator Ryan Bruchert on guitar, José Salazar (Satan’s Hallow) on bass, and Garry Naples (Novembers Doom, Without Waves) on drums.

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Drawing on influences from Black Sabbath to Queensryche and Paradise Lost, Black Sites delivers a sound that’s been called “unapologetically modern (with) two feet firmly planted in the feel of yesteryear.”

Following the 2017 release of their debut album In Monochrome via Mascot Records, the band parted ways with their label. Black Sites now looks forward to putting out their upcoming LP Exile on April 19th 2019.

Exile also presents Black Sites’ new rhythm section. The original line-up parted ways amicably due to logistical issues, which led to the addition of Naples and Salazar. “Garry and I were already playing together in another project, and I thought his approach and work ethic would work well in this band,” says Sugar. “Then we randomly met José in the parking lot of our practice space, and within five minutes we were joking about St. Anger and quoting lines from Boogie Nights. We knew he’d fit in nicely.”

Bringing a robust slab of prog-metal to the plate, Black Sites deliver a chunky rhythmic meal to fill up on. The appetiser is The Night They Came for You as the riffs howl with brazen complexity, the clean vocals command your attention and the percussion section is the equivalent of hammer blows.

To the Fire rightly ups the energy for a delectably meaty and groovy sounding track before Feral Child entices with a little bit of a darker sound. It’s still sounds massive though as Black Sites makes technical riffing seem like the easiest thing in the world.

A break from the faster and heavier orientated stuff is interrupted for the slow strumming and melodic vocals of Coal City. It’s fairly bland, up until the 2 and a half minute mark where it opens up into a hyper and heavy as hell segment. It really comes into its own so when it does slow down again, it’s much more palatable.

Black Sites are certainly a stronger force when they keep things fast and groovy. There can be few complaints regarding the classic guitar-led sound of Dream Long Dead or the fiery Focused Totality – The Psychic Knife. Both tracks spit out the riffs as if they’re on sale.

It’s a great album and by time the deep rhythm of Prolonging comes along, most will be feeling quite engorged. However, Black Sites aren’t quite done with shoving their hard rocking sound down throats. They have one more in them, one more rambling doom-lite experience in the form of Dwell Upon the End, a very apt title.

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Black Sites – Exile Full Track Listing:

1. The Night They Came For You
2. To The Fire
3. Feral Child
4. Coal City
5. Dream Long Dead
6. Focused Totality – The Psychic Knife
7. Prolonging
8. Dwell Upon The End



The album can be ordered via Bandcamp here. Find out more by checking out Black Sites Facebook Page and watch their videos on YouTube.

Black Sites - Exile (Hoove Child)
  • 8/10
    The Final Score - 8/10
User Rating 4.5 (2 votes)
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