What better way to kick off your weekend than some deliciously dark, brooding and exciting instrumental post-mathcore. Salt Lake City band BLACKSHAPE describe their latest track as a “barrage of riffs, shifting time signatures, and carefully constructured textures” our interest was well and truly piqued.
Adding to the intrigue is the fact that the quartet, which we’re pretty sure is the first we’ve featured from Utah, wrote and recorded their debut album, which we’re expecting early next year, in one continuous loop – which seems fairly unusual / impressive. To give us a taste for what’s to come, the band sent us brand new track III, which we also featured on our weekly Spotify new music playlist GigRadar Fresh Tunes, where you can catch all the best new music from new bands.
III dives straight into intense layers of guitars, including high-pitched atmospheric guitars, over driving drums. It soon drops into a more laid-back section with piercing guitars that build up to cool diving guitars over atmospheric, floaty guitars. A barrage of heavier guitars takes over, then a low-tuned driving riff suddenly drops out and gives way to a huge breakdown, which immediately gives way to another laid-back section.
A light guitar lick comes in over pounding drums and evolves into a higher-pitched calming lick over a more frenetic backdrop. That soon drops into booming riffs and a chaotic piercing guitar to bring this fantastic track to a close. Give it a listen here:
We had a chat with the band to find out more about them and what else is coming their way in the build-up to their debut album. Read on below…
GR: Who are BLACKSHAPE?
B: “BLACKSHAPE is an instrumental, post-mathcore band from Salt Lake City, UT. We’re a four piece with Scott Shepard and Joe Woit on guitar, Josh Dunn on bass, and Perry Burton on drums. Having already been friends or known each other from previous projects, we kind of all knew we had this itch to play some heavier stuff.
“That said, we started as a long distance project for several years, flying into town here and there to bounce riffs and ideas off each other. But we really solidified into an actual band about 3 years ago when Joe moved to Utah and Perry turned down a job with SpaceX.”
GR: You just released III. What should people be expecting from the song?
B: “III is a barrage of frenetic riffs, shifting time signatures, and carefully constructed textures. It’s also our only song that features a proper ‘breakdown.’ We wrote and recorded our debut album as one continuous loop, and III was in many ways a starting point for our entire record. We knew we wanted all of the songs to flow into each other, and since ‘III’ was one of our earliest songs, it helped inform what came before and after.”
GR: How would you describe your sound to people that haven’t listened to you yet?
B: “We describe it as “Heavy, beautiful math.” We’re big fans of Deftones and other heavy bands that infuse their music with atmosphere and melodic elements. ‘III’ is pretty relentless, but our record is full of dynamic shifts and peaks and valleys. A lot of our conversations seem to touch on creating this sense of relentlessness and tension, so that when the riff lands or gives way to a moment of beauty, there’s this sense of relief—like you just made it through something.”
GR: What influences you to write music? Any key themes or topics that you write about?
B: “Being an instrumental band, this question is tricky. We’re not sure any specific internal or external sources influence us to write this music. It’s challenging trying to convert these complex, musical ideas into actual music, but the finished products come with these awesome experiences that keep us going. It’s those experiences that help us generate additional ideas and influence what comes next. Everyday emotions help a little too, we suppose!
“For this record we actually tried to remove all context for the listener, so that they can experience
the songs and album in their own way without any narrative influence from us. That’s why we assigned the songs numbers instead of names and made it (mostly) instrumental.
“There is one message buried in the dark hallways of the record, but that’s to be discovered later on. Our hope is that when someone listens to BLACKSHAPE, they’ll go on a journey, hear, see and feel the things they need to, and drive faster if it’s playing in their car.”
GR: Which bands/musicians are/have been your strongest musical influences?
B: “As we mentioned before, we’re big fans of Deftones. We also love Mew, Cloudkicker, And So I Watch You From Afar, Russian Circles, The Chariot, Glassjaw, Thrice, At the Drive-in, Silent Planet, Norma Jean, the list could get huge. In general, we tend to gravitate toward complex soundscapes, and heavy, mathy stuff (of course).”
GR: What have you got coming up in 2020? New music, new gigs, recording etc…?
B: “Due to the pandemic, our touring plans–like everyone else’s–are slashed, but we plan to release songs steadily up until the release of our self-titled full length in early 2021.”
GR: Anything else you’d like people to know about you/your music?
B: “We’re grateful for any ears we get and hope you’ll follow us on the journey.”