Blackfield – “Blackfield V”

kscope360-1000pxAfter two very disappointing albums from Blackfield (with Aviv Geffen at the helm), Steven Wilson rededicated himself to the project for the duo’s fifth album. The good news? It’s not as bad as the last two albums. The bad news? It’s not as great as the first two albums. The quality of the songs varies a lot throughout the album, with some songs that are quite good and a few that are flat out terrible.

The album starts with an orchestrated prelude song in “A Drop in the Ocean” which is nice but doesn’t really get you fired up for the rest. That’s basically the case with the whole album: lots of orchestration and a very mellow, somewhat flat vibe. “Family Man” is the first single and while it’s a good song, it falls short of the dynamic singles of past albums like “Blackfield” or “Once” or “Christenings.”

“How Was Your Ride?” is one of my favorite tracks. It’s quite lush and yes mellow but the chorus is very strong. From there, Aviv Geffen takes the mic for the next track, “We’ll Never Be Apart” which isn’t a bad track but I’ve never cared much for his voice. His tone is iffy and it has a vibrato that I hadn’t noticed before. I think Wilson should have sang this one.

“Sorrys” is another Aviv track and once again his voice drives me nuts. The song itself is rather dull and does nothing for me. It’s a track that I see myself skipping frequently. “Life is an Ocean” has Wilson splitting vocals with Geffen and it’s at this point that I am wonder why Wilson sounds strange on this album. Does he have a cold? Is he just trying to sound more like Geffen? Who would do that? The overall vibe of the album becomes very apparent by now that it’s an album about life and the ocean.

“Lately” finally gives the album some life. The song has a driving rhythm, a nice guitar solo and a good chorus. Not sure why it needs a guest vocal from a female vocalist but it’s brief though confusing. Definitely one of the better tracks, but I hate the sudden fade. “October” sounds like a Broadway show tune, well kinda. If anyone is curious how Wilson would sound on a big show number, this is it. Is that Jordan Rudess on the piano?

Aviv chokes out the melody to “The Jackal” on the verse before it awkwardly moves into a nice chorus. This song needed more work. Just not a good song overall. “Salt Water” sounds like ELO to me. It’s a nice little instrumental that I like better than “A Drop in the Ocean.” Since the pattern is a good song followed by Aviv Geffen doing what he does, “Undercover Heart” is similar to “The Jackal” with sketchy verses and a good chorus. That female singer is back assisting Geffen at finding notes successfully.

This leads us to a shitty pop song, “Lonely Soul.” This song is complete crap. That female vocalist (yes I need to find her name) couples with Geffen saying “I’m a lonely soul” over and over and over again. I just cannot survive that song. The last track is easily the best track on the album. “From 44 to 48” is an addictive melody and stuffy Steven giving a good vocal performance. I love the chord progressions and guitar riffs. It’s another mellow track and yes sounds a bit like ELO. That’s fine though. This is a GREAT song.

Overall, “Blackfield V” is the definition of a mixed bag. It definitely underscores the fact that Steven Wilson is a lot more talented and easier on the ears than Aviv Geffen. The album has a few great moments, a few embarrassing ones and others that just don’t really register at all. Blackfield are back and better than they have been but not as great as they used to be.

Rating: 7/10

Tracklist:
1. A Drop in the Ocean
2. Family Man
3. How Was Your Ride?
4. We’ll Never Be Apart
5. Sorrys
6. Life is an Ocean
7. Lately
8. October
9. The Jackal
10. Salt Water
11. Undercover Heart
12. Lonely Soul
13. From 44 to 48

Label: Kscope

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About progmanrob

I have been a fan of progressive metal and progressive rock for most of my life. My music collection is insanely large. My passion for life is music...progressive music!
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9 Responses to Blackfield – “Blackfield V”

  1. Doug says:

    So, “Lonely Soul” is this album’s “Miss U”?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. progbeawr831 says:

    I agree with the two before and the two after concept, wholeheartedly agree with you there. Looking forward to hearing V and seeing how your descriptions measure up to what I hear and from what you have written in the past, we see pretty much eye to eye on a lot of things so cheers for the insight!

    Like

  3. someone says:

    I loved the album and think it’s their best piece of work so far.
    From reading your review it’s clear you don’t like Geffen that much as you praise anything to do with Wilson while bashing any Geffen related stuff. I see Blackfield as a package in itself and not as an extension of Wilson’s work with a Geffen distraction in it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • progmanrob says:

      Glad you like the album. I just don’t think Geffen is on the same level talent wise. I am sure he has fans (perhaps like you) and they might enjoy this one more than I did. It has some good moments, like “From 44 to 48” which is a great song.

      Like

  4. Anonymous says:

    Pretty much… At first I thought Lonely Soul was a mix-up, someone put a rejected Massive Attack track on a Blackfield album. Completely out of place with the mood, if any, to the album.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Anonymous says:

    I liked it….not as much as the first two albums, but it is always nice to listen SW’s music….this albums needs to be listened several times, but with a good set of headphones you will enjoy the great sound of the recording and mixing of the tracks (SW’s best attribute)….

    Like

  6. Anonymous says:

    I liked Miss U, and I like Lonely Soul. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Like

  7. Greg Lang says:

    Your comment on “October” was spot on and made me laugh. I liked liked the album a bit more than you though. “44 to 48” is a great song and will go into my Steven Wilson faves playlist.

    Liked by 1 person

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