Black Foxxes – ‘Reiði’

By Yasmin Brown

It’s rare that rock bands make such a powerful first impression, but it’s safe to say Black Foxxes have made their mark on the British rock scene. Now, with ‘Reiði’ firmly in our hands, it’s easy to see a future in which Black Foxxes effortlessly gain international recognition. This three-piece has breathed vitality into an industry that’s becoming saturated with repetition and a lack of creativity, and sparked a certain excitement for what’s still to come.

Opening track, ‘Breathe’, perfectly sets the tone for the rest of the album, containing the first of many slow build-ups and epic climaxes, encompassing everything we have to look forward. Within seconds, the outstanding vocal range of front man Mark Holley is awe inspiring as he soothes with tones that are reminiscent of Placebo’s Brian Molko. This is where the similarities end, though. Black Foxxes have managed to create something that feels worlds away from anything else being released today, an originality that suggests longevity and makes this band feel truly special.

The transition into ‘Manic in Me’ is a rough one, reflecting the song’s theme which deals with internal conflict, proving that the band can create a narrative with and without words. ‘The Big Wild’ highlights the band’s ability to channel a number of genres, with the opening guitar sounding almost bluesy at times, making you want to close your eyes and surrender yourself to the music before its abrupt end.

The record undoubtedly reaches its peak with ‘Oh, It Had to Be You’. The track starts off with just a piano, before the rest of the band slowly creeps in. With it being the second longest on the album, there is plenty of room to tell a story about the extent to which someone can affect you. While it starts soft, the vocals escalate to melodic shouting, building up emotion that starts in your heart and spreads throughout your body until the song completely fills up every part of you.

‘JOY’, a raw, punk inspired track, implements trumpets, a megaphone and what can only be described as laser sound effects. It’s the grimiest and most memorable track on the album, not least because of the lyric, “call me erasable” which will hit a nerve with almost anyone who has ever felt replaced or forgotten. ‘Am I Losing It’ feels highly relatable too, as a result of its ambiguous lyrics that can be attributed to any given situation in an individual’s life. Its long, slow fade is another ode to Black Foxxes’ unwillingness to succumb to the expected song duration.

Thematically the album is introspective, as epitomised by the ethereal ‘Flowers’ – another track that perfects the art of a solid build up and lyrics such as “wasted my time fixing you” and “I’m on the edge” with the latter feeling almost like a result of the former. It transitions into ‘Take Me Home’, a vocally driven track that initially feels romantic before sonically turning desperate, possibly as a result of wanting to rebuild himself and to become accepting of himself and his experiences. By the time the album closes with ‘Float On’, the longest track on the album, the rise and fall is expected, yet it’s still possible to get lost in its eerie nature.

Black Foxxes have poured their hearts into ‘Reiði’. Emotion floods out of every note played, every beat, and every word that is sung or screamed. It feels desperate, like this album was created out of sheer necessity; a necessity that comes solely from within the band members as opposed to any external force. Whether you know the lyrics or not, every track hones in on your senses, creating a story that you subconsciously feel at the same time you are piecing together the lyrics. Combined with dirty guitar riffs, there is no doubt that a number of these tracks will one day be considered anthems, and with a number of songs being longer than average, Black Foxxes have added a lot more depth to their art.

This album contains a vulnerability and a sense of creative freedom that can often only exist within a debut album. ‘Reiði’ is authentic. It is paradoxically filled with both pain and beauty and it is without a doubt the start of a very long career for Black Foxxes.

YASMIN BROWN

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