THE NEW BLACK, III: Cut Loose (2013, AFM)
Sure, this was pulled straight out of the big design folder at a local tattoo shop, the page stained with drool and tobacco smoke, but if nothing else, this is the first BDS to prominently feature hummingbirds, so, congratulations are in order, I guess, to The New Black, who also hereby make their second appearance in the Skullection. Truth be told, their first album is also fronted by a big dumb skull, but I think we’re about sick of this stupid band, so the morbidly curious will have to Google that shit for themselves if they want to fully trace the origins and development of The New Black Big Dumb Skull.
The New Black are the sort of totally boring band who could be national stars if they were from Finland. They’re unfortunately from Germany, so it’s unlikely they’re huge in their home country, but I guess you never know. They have the glossy, shitty sound of a band trying to rope in a mainstream audience with something nominally “metal” but still totally safe, as if mixing Volbeat and Papa Roach were a viable creative strategy, or if the problem with Black Sabbath is that they sound insufficiently like The Foo Fighters. TNB (as I’m sure they’d like me to call them) are total pros, of course, but they’re also completely soulless. I’d rather listen to nazi black metal from France (not really, but please allow me the hyperbole) because at least those idiots believe in something and are making music for reasons that are not transparently commercial. You can imagine a songwriter in The New Black thinking, “Man, this riff would totally KILL in a video game or an energy drink commercial! The opportunities for cross-market synergy are just off the charts here!” If your main source for new music recommendations is VH1, then maybe The New Black could totally be your jam, but if you’re a metalhead with (some) dignity and self-respect, you won’t listen to this pap.
— Friar Johnsen