Release date: 16th March 2018
Label: Spinefarm Records
Genre: Indie Rock
Black Foxxes caught everyone’s attention with their 2016 debut album I’m not well; a dark, swirling force of a record. Its successor Reiði captures much of that same energy and more. The record is a culmination of the bands anxieties of touring and daily life, set to a dark, but at times uplifting, instrumental backdrop.
Reiði translates to rage in Icelandic, and while the band are from Exeter and not Iceland, it certainly sounds more finessed than the English translation, though there is a certain amount of rage on this record. It expresses vocalist/guitarist Mark Holleys grievances with the disparaging lifestyle of tour and what happens afterwards. The southwest can often be an isolating place, and having come from that area I can understand his frustration.
Holley’s vocals really stand out on the record. They at times sound like a man on the edge but with a substantial amount of grit, with the best example on the album opener: ‘Breathe’. The track builds around Holley’s vocal line “I wanna set myself free” which ends in an emotional climax of swirling guitars and synths. You truly believe the desperation that Holley feels, and it’s hard not to get sucked in by it.
‘JOY’ on the other hand showcases a more uplifting side of Holley. It’s the heaviest and most aggressive track on the album, with Holley screaming “don’t call me erasable” over thundering guitars, making it sound like he is fighting back against the hopelessness he experiences. The whole record acts as a diary of emotions for a vocalist who is not holding back, and it is deeply personal.
Influenced in parts by the softer and more indie aspects of bands like Sorority Noise and Modern Baseball, they take those parts and ramp up the darkness. When the guitars crash down there is so much emotional weight to the them, it has its own unique heaviness. It’s refreshing to hear a band sound so natural, when many bands in the scene tend to over indulge in pro tooling, and end up with an over processed sound. Black Foxxes sound like a real band. No space on the record feels wasted either, with synth and string elements scattered across the album, that the listener will be begin to notice after repeat listens.
Reiði is an album that will draw people in with its catchy song writing on tracks like ‘JOY’ and ’Manic in Me’, but will find it difficult to not get pulled into the darkness that the band presents. Black Foxxes have crafted something special here, and I look forward to see what they create in the future.
Recommended track: Breath
You can buy Reiði on various formats here
You can find Black Foxxes here: