Blackloud - "6th 6th 6th" (self-released 2003)
Blackloud - "Mysterious Waves" (self-released 2003)

Uploaded to Aural Innovations: June 2004

Ok folks, you want something different and creatively strange? Let me introduce you to Blackloud, aka James Burton, who brings together wildly disparate musical worlds to create something uniquely his own. How to describe? Well.... images a witch's cauldron of Stoner Rock, Psychedelia, Chrome and The Residents, and you might get something like Blackloud. Burton uses mostly bass and drum machine to produce his songs, though we do get some cool space synths from time to time as well. The recordings for 6th 6th 6th and Mysterious Waves were completed around the same time and split into two separate CD's.

Among the highlights on 6th 6th 6th is "Future Shock", which consists of Stoner bass over quirky electro percussion, spaced out synths and freaked out vocals and lyrics. This was my first taste of Blackloud and hit me right smack in the face with a Black Sabbath meets The Residents sound. "Scrubble Dubbed" is one of my favorites, being similar to "Future Shock" but much more whimsical, despite the intensity. "Artificial Light" is a stoned, psychedelic sludge rock and roller that defies simple Stoner rock categorization due to Burton's oddball vocals, Chrome-like intensity and the pace of the electro percussion. I like the dark and ominous brand of psychedelia heard on "Deep Clean". "Formation" has some of the doomiest, sludgiest bass I've ever heard. Ditto for "War Chief", though Burton takes this one into an acid drenched, noise-laden video game realm. Another one of my favorites. "Black Ball" is like a spaced out garage rock version of Chrome. And "Tanker" is a completely weird and spaced out story of... a dog? I'm not sure. But who cares? This is some seriously wild shit. It's really tough to describe, but despite my analogies coming from left and right field I have to say that Burton has succeeded in molding a recognizable Blackloud sound. And anyone who can do that and set themselves apart from the rest gets a thumbs up from me and a big shiny purple star from teacher.

Burton considers Mysterious Waves to be the mellower of the two CD's and indeed that's the case, but it's just as cool as 6th 6th 6th. I tuned into the tracks more from a song perspective. But this album includes some music that is deep in the space zone. Standouts include the opening track, "VHF", which is a totally spaced out, oddball sort of pop-psychedelia tune. "Search Light" and "Mysterious Waves" are equally spacey and the heavy tracks of the set. But "Search Light" is a real highlight, being chock full of ultra cosmic bubbling efx, but still with the characteristic strange Blackloud style. Very cool. "Powder Burn" is a quirky freak-pop song with some nifty bass work. The way Burton plays bass he really doesn't need a guitarist. On "Paper Sailboat" he layers the tracks such that it sounds like a couple of guitars and a bass anyway. Great trippy efx on that one too. And "Suicide Saint", "Clear Liquid", and "Didn't Know" are more songs that I'll call freak-pop done Blackloud style. Very creatively constructed tunes and pretty humorous.

In summary, this guy is OUT THERE! Check him out!

For more information you can visit the Blackloud web site at:
Email at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

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