Charlotte-based metal band Blackwater Drowning describe themselves as “Not your momma’s metal.” Despite lingering questions regarding what particular type of metal mothers are most fond of, the adage rings true of this seasoned band—the blend of influences both old and new is apparent in their music. Formed in 2014 by veterans of bands such as A Vision Grotesque, Mortufairy, and Luna’s Lament, Blackwater Drowning brought a perfect storm to a metal scene that didn’t know yet quite how desperately it needed a breath of fresh air.
Blackwater Drowning’s debut release, “Delusionary,” kicks off the way any metal album should begin: with tremolo-picked guitars, machine-gun drums, and throaty screams. “Deity” is fast, heavy, and rough. The opening song is followed by the sweet, sexy round two that is “Easy Prey,” showcasing some of the cleanest, most consistent double-bass this side of the Appalachians and a dark, gritty breakdown. Morgan’s sustained, siren-like clean vocals offer a stark, but fitting contrast to her growls. The slow, sludgy intro of “Delusionary” almost seems out of place in comparison to the fast, melodic sound that follows; however, that sludge returns about a minute later and brings us full-circle. The speed of the verses in “Liar Inside” creates a whiplash contrast with the almost breakdown-like chorus and features is a call and response between Morgan and Aria that wouldn’t be out of place in the hardcore punk scene. The electronic, synth-filled intro to “Making Glass” is followed by the most heart-tearing screams on the EP. The chromatic vocal melody of “imaginary eyes on you…” along with a singable melodic guitar solo layered over a dark and heavy rhythm cements this as my favorite song on the release. And of course, what better way to end than the way we begin? Like the conclusion of a flawlessly written thesis, “Ruthless,” the final song on the EP, brings back a little bit of everything this band has put on the plate and ties a blood-red bow around it.
Heavy, hard, and raw, Delusionary certainly brings something delightful to the metal scene. I’d like to hear a little more bass-driven melodies in the future — especially considering this is a genre where the bass tends to be a little “hidden” — but in general it’s a solid album from start to finish and every song is worth listening to.