What do I think about when someone says “Australia?” I think about the original Mad Max film. I think about Crocodile Dundee (I grew up in the 80s). I also think about Outback Steakhouse. Whether that place is authentic or not, I have no idea. However, what is authentic down under is their metal, and Black Lava is one of the newer bands from the land of Oz who have caught my attention. They have their sophomore release The Savage Winds to Wisdom, coming out and I have some things to say about it.

If you’ve never heard Black Lava before, they are this thick array of death, black and doom metal. Tons of great riffs and lots of double bass and massive percussion. This apparent on the record’s opener “Colour of Death.” An absolute banger. The massive riffage takes a gloomier turn on “Dark Legacy.” This particular cut reminds me the score of The Handmaid’s Tale when things on screen take a turn for the gruesome.

“Unsheathing Nightmares” is deliciously black blend of all of the things you want in an extreme metal song. The songwriting prowess is clearly apparent and I am very much enamored with the little nuanced sounds that come out of the guitars.

“Ironclad Sarcophagus” is another banger that has a massive wail of a sound. Dissonate but not too much. Tight and compact. And it has a great video to boot!

While I was satisfied with the first Black Lava record that came out in pre-COVID times, this newest one is definitely a cut above. Guitarist Ben Boyle tells us: “There was greater care taken with compositions on The Savage Winds to Wisdom. There’s more depth and layering to the riffs and melodies. Calling on a more broad list of inspirations and tones, the album has a real sense of balance, a certain quality that will lend itself to repeat listens and attention to detail, while still staying true to what Black Lava set out to do; create heavy, yet energetic and catchy anthemic tunes that tell a story and emanate a sense of atmosphere and power for the listener.”

Other cuts on the record that I really like are “Pagan Dust,” which has some really nice speed to it and the dark and dreamy “Sanguis Lupus.” If I had one complaint about the record it would be that many of the songs sound very much alike, however, that formula has clearly worked for fellow Aussies AC/DC so it may as well work for these guys as well.

Overall though if you’re a fan of bands like Satyricon, Behemoth and Goatwhore, you should definitely give Black Lava a serious listen. Perhaps the best thing to come out of Australia since the Bloomin’ Onion.

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