I'm Going to Kill Myself

Black Sheep Wall

"Screamo" is a term that doesn't get thrown around as much as it used to. […]
By H.P. Buttcraft
January 28, 2015
Black Sheep Wall - I'm Going to Kill Myself album cover

"Screamo" is a term that doesn't get thrown around as much as it used to. In 2004, any variation of the word "emo" was uttered in a derogatory way, a large expression of discontent against the music genre that had been homogenized, commercialized and regurgitated back to music fans as a fashion trend. BLACK SHEEP WALL has gone from a sludge metal band as can be heard on their debut 2013 EP "It Begins Again", and their better-known 2012 full-length "No Matter Where It Ends", to a raw, painful and more apathetic version of themselves on "I'm Going To Kill Myself". At first listen, it definitely comes off as a "screamo" album or at least a partial emulation. But wait! Don't be dissuaded yet! This album is a real work of art here.

So the story goes that BLACK SHEEP WALL were making a their mark in the modern sludge scene and signed to Season of Mist Record but after the departure of vocalist Trae Malone, it left the other band members, including bass player and replacement vocalist Brandon Gillichbauer to pick up the pieces. "I'm Going To Kill Myself" is the band's expression of their own groups disassembly and experience of loss and frustration with the absence of a member who helped pull the band together in the beginning.

His discouragement and hopelessness can be heard on the opening song's vulnerable and distraught lyrics very starkly. He discusses his disgust with the town he lives in ("Two streets and they call this a city") or about his coming to terms with the possibility of failing as an artist ("I'm sorry, dad, I'm doing what I can. We let you down again. Fuck this band.") The opening of "I'm Going to Kill Myself" is heartbreaking, which I guess should've been expected from a title like that.

The three tracks on this album that comprise of half of the running length are compelling and rich with emotion. Anger and despair, of course, but nonetheless strong emotional aptitude, specifically the song "White Pig". This song brings back the quasi-psychedelic, droning, and clean singing layers over the screeching main vocalist from the later parts of "The Wailing...." But these vocal layers on "White Pig" sound far more experimental than "The Wailing and The Gnashing and The Teeth" and are accompanied by BLACK SHEEP WALL's signature palm-muted guitar chugs that were entirely absent on "The Wailing and The Gnashing and The Teeth".

The most common thing anybody is going to talk about when it comes down to BLACK SHEEP WALL's latest album is their 30 minute-long song called, oddly enough, "Metallica". I have no idea what inspired the band to title this song after the most recognizable band in heavy metal and I'm sure a lawsuit from Lars Ulrich is swiftly on its way to BLACK SHEEP WALL's inbox.

I am sure that the album title's sentiment is felt by a whole bunch of musicians within the underground metal and hardcore scenes across the United States. Sometimes all the hard work going into creating your music, building a fan base, getting exposure from the press; it can all deplete your sense of self-worth, positivity and patience. You may have spent months writing and rehearsing the perfect guitar solo for your band but what good is it when more people will want to listen to pabulum club songs or the same stupid, formulaic pop and country songs. You cannot win against these other genre's massive financial statures. In the sense that all hope is lost for extreme music, "I'm Going to Kill Myself' is an objective artistic expression of this meaningless channeled through a subjective musician (BLACK SHEEP WALL).

A part of me wants to hate "I'm Going to Kill Myself". A part of me wants to point out how this album gives no justification to be taken seriously and how the singing and infinite open chord "djent" chugs are just as irritating as a Taylor Swift song and sometimes even more irritating than that. But, in that sense, the obnoxiousness is a form of extremity. In this instance, I have a ton of respect for the musicians but marginal respect for the music. I was actually pissed off after the first time I was able to get through the entire length of the song "Metallica" because I knew I had to sit through it all over again to make this review fair-and-balanced. Sitting through "Metallica" is a difficult and trying experience and I don't recommend it to many people.

But regardless of how difficult this album may be to listen to, there's still a point to it all. There's still a message being cried out on this album that is worth listening to and, in your own way, internalizing. I cannot bring myself to give this album a full pass but I am not willing to condemn this work of brutal honesty.<

5 / 10


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"I'm Going to Kill Myself" Track-listing:

1. The Wailing and The Gnashing and The...
2. Tetsuo The Dead Man
3. White Pig
4. Metallica

Black Sheep Wall Lineup:

Brandon Gillichbauer - Vocals, Bass
Scott Turner - Guitar, Bass
Andrew Hulle - Guitar
Jackson Thompson - Drums

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