Groove metal with lashes of thrash

Carbon Black are one of those Australian bands that seemed to land fully formed and ready to take on the world with debut album End Of This, released in 2018. This new release, recorded sporadically over the last 18 months is no different.

Leaping out of the barracks Red Flag wastes no time in setting the standard for this seven track release. That standard is groove metal with lashes of thrash to keep the music from ever getting stale, although with only a few tracks here, there really isn’t any time for that to happen.

The most interesting song on this album is Under Order, featuring a cameo from Judas Priest/Iced Earth singer Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens. The track itself tackles a more straight forward approach to metal, allowing Ripper and CB’s vocalist Jon Hurley to stretch their vocal might without leaving the listener feeling as though they have wedged something unwanted onto the album. The angriest track Carbon Black throws down is One Enemy that, combined with closer Our Reprise really bring to the fore the social conscious nature of their lyrics that is hinted at throughout but tackled head-on without fear or failure here, across both thrash and a more pub-rock styled track.

A lot has to be said about the production as well. The band managed to get Kevin ‘Caveman’ Shirley to mix and his deft touch is writ large everywhere, from the crisp guitar tones to the rumble of the bass that helps to underpin the entire album. This release is more proof of how healthy the heavy music scene is in Australia right now.

1. Red Flag
2. The One Who Knows My Name
3. Scars
4. Under Order
5. We Bleed
6. One Enemy
7. Our Reprise