Black Metal Raccoons
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Black Metal Raccoons

Helsinki, Finland | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | SELF

Helsinki, Finland | SELF
Established on Jan, 2015
Duo Rock Krautrock

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"Black Metal Raccoons – Electric"

Reading “Black Metal” and “Finland” in the same phrase does ring a bell, but don’t fool yourself, that’s not what Black Metal Raccoons are about. In the frozen lands where most black and doom metal bands reign nowadays, this playful duo Alex Morelli and Ville Verkkapuro formed in Helsinki last year, using Josh Homme and Jesse Hughes’s Eagles of Death Metal as an inspiration.

Their new EP released last month couldn’t be more far distant from black metal or Californian rockabilly (in the case of Eagles). With the precise title of “Electric”, from start to end, this 4 song EP offers an electric journey through layered psych guitars and vibrant 80’s dark beats.

With clear nods to other contemporary bands such as Moon Duo, Disappears or the more dense and obscure Soft Moon. Black Metal Raccoons are the perfect union between old-school space rock (more like Hawkind, less like Spaceman 3) and kraut/electronic (the idyllic ambient of Tangerine Dream translated to this era) but still having a personal sound on its own.

As a first single, the energetic “Near Death Experience” sets the tone for the whole EP: A beautiful trip with a balanced interaction between guitar riffs and synthesizer sounds, with subtle distorted vocals appearing often but not invasively.

Followed with “Drive”, the band flirts with a more shoegaze guitar without leaving the kraut beats and the 80’s ambient vibes behind, the song grows towards the middle to build a perfect maze of electric distortion.

The album tricks us with the cheerful rhythmic beginning of “Fuzzy Beggar” to let us then immerse in a futuristic wave of synth sounds mixed with a riff that is used as a mattress for the singer’s voice, very dreamy and distant.

The culmination comes with “Orchid”, an obscure melody and a vibrant guitar that could belong to any closing scene of a John Carpenter’s movie wraps this debut EP perfectly.

With songs that accurately don’t exceed more than 4 minutes, adrenaline-fuelled riffs, and modest vocal appearances The Black Raccoons seem to know very well what they’re doing without being repetitive or copycats. With such a trippy atmosphere and layered sound the music seems to yell claiming for visual imaginary and a bit, ‘though in a very literal way’ can be seen in the VHS filtered video for the ecstatic single “Drive” below. - Pure M magazine


"Black Metal Raccoons – Space Voodoo (EP review)"

Like Vampire Weekend and Imagine Dragons before them, Black Metal Raccoons chosen name is deceptive. They can be more easily understood by the company they keep, having recently toured with A Place To Bury Strangers, but thankfully they have managed to avoid the knowing, earnest, self- indulgence that plagues experimental post-rock bands. They have, however, borrowed some of the trappings of their black metal namesakes such as the illegible logo. The cover does appear to read “Black Melon Raccoons”.

The Helsinki duo formed in 2015 and this is the follow-up to the Electric EP. The band name is an idiosyncratically Finnish spin on the Eagles Of Death Metal. The band’s public deference to Jesse Hughes & Co. is reflected in their playful photo shoots and the sense of communion in the music. They describe their distinctive sound as “Raccoon Roll” and Space Voodoo as “a journey towards a new universe with a lot of hallucinogens and hookers in a space shuttle built from an old Cadillac”.

Black Metal Raccoons eschew the traditional songwriting tropes like verse/chorus/verse, relying instead on their propulsive rhythms and rollicking basslines. Ville Verkkapuro’s vocals are an atmospheric drawl, like Al Jorgensen or Gibby Haynes, getting across a general feeling of unease rather than trying to relate a story or paint a particular scene.

Opening track ‘DUI’ has multiple driving guitar tracks over a repetitive, hypnotic house synth track with the lyrics delivered in a distorted monotone. It sets the tone well and, as the shortest song on the EP, is the most radio-friendly and accessible road into Space Voodoo. But it is a bit disappointing in comparison with the songs that follow it. It has the potential to be an epic on the scale of Sisters Of Mercy but it feels incomplete and finishes just as it is really getting going, leaving some interesting ideas unexplored.

The combination of electronica and guitars continues seamlessly on ‘Deep South’. The dirty bass and ’80s synth lines give the song a gothic industrial feel and it could easily sit next to early Ministry or Nine Inch Nails. A crazed guitar solo from Alex Morelli brings the track to a halt. It’s a stick between the spokes of the other instruments and they seemingly crash to a standstill as it let’s rip. Fabulously inventive stuff!

The bass playing is very Peter Hook-y and nowhere more so than on ‘Beyond’ which sounds very much like New Order, even down to the extended instrumental outro. Black Metal Raccoons’ use of the guitar solo to propel the tune in a new direction without breaking up the beat is a very Sumner-esque move. This epic tune points the way forward for the band. Over the six and a half minutes of ‘Beyond’, the track is given the space and time to develop and intensify. It is indubitably the highest peak of this consistently enthralling EP.

Check it out for yourself. - Pure M magazine


Discography

Electric EP (2015)
Space Voodoo EP (2016)

Photos

Bio

Black Metal Raccoons is a Helsinki-based duo formed in 2015. The synthesizer-covered rough and repetitive rock draws inspiration from bands such as Moon Duo, The Soft Moon and Suicide. The best way to describe the buzzing space-kraut of Black Metal Raccoons would be their self-proclaimed genre Raccoon Roll.

The raccoon-inspired makeup wearing band is known for their unpredictable and always renewing live shows. Their shows are a mixture of performance art, New York noise from the 70's and Voodoo rituals, earning them warm-up slots for bands such as A Place To Bury Strangers.

The duo has released two EP:s, Electric and Space Voodoo and are working on their first full-length release at the moment.

Band Members