Blackfinger – When Colors Fade Away (M-Theory Audio)

Sunday, 19th November 2017
Rating: 7/10

An apt title coming from Eric Wagner, wouldn’t you say? The former Trouble vocal overlord has presided over some of doom’s most iconic moments, mutating his voice to suit the mood, which, as suggested, is usually downcast. Wagner left Trouble in 2008 and devoted his attention to The Skull, but the man’s subsequent relocation to Pittsburgh led to the creation of Blackfinger, an outfit that features a few ex-members of Dream Death and Penance. Not bad company to be in. On the band’s sophomore When Colors Fade Away, Wagner is up to his usual tricks, although you’d wish there was a bit more gusto to the whole thing.

Absent is Wagner’s once-harrowing rafter reaches, perhaps now a thing of the past given he’s pushing 60. But, he’s still achingly identifiable, able to single-handedly carry a tune just with the push of his weathered chords. The opening title track and “Can I Get a Witness” are soaked in Sabbath-on-grunge action, helping the album gracefully slide into its mid-tempo space, which is where it stays. By the time “My Old Soul” rolls around, you start to pine for more from Wagner and gang. With the exception of the excellent “Afternow,” the riffs lack the sort of intimidation and aura of Trouble and since Wagner isn’t going to be testing the limits of his range, the whole thing starts to feel a tad restrained.

Folks will line up around the corner to hear Wagner sing — and they damn sure better. While Blackfinger’s music lacks complete color and breadth, it’s Wagner who provides the character and soul to When Colors Fade Away. It’s hard to keep an old doom vet down, isn’t it?

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