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The Black Heart Procession – The Spell

If contemplating suicide, The Black Heart Procession is highly recommended. The collective, hailing from the unlikeliest of all places—San Diego, specializes in music that should be included within a funereal program. Feeling depressed? Going through a heart-wrenching breakup? Live in a cave of darkness? Like to feel dismal? BHP is the perfect companion for such situations.


On their fifth full-length, The Spell, the band continues on what they have established on their previous works—perfecting the art of dreariness. By combining the slow, woe-ridden vibe of the first three LPs 1, 2, 3 with elements of 2002s stylistic Amore Del Tropico, The Spell acts like a marriage of both. Think modern day Pink Floyd fused with Nick Cave doing minimal word play.

Much like the title indicates, the sound rarely deviates from their established format of the slow and plodding spell-enriched melancholy. While some people may love to bathe in this beauty of darkness, others will be utterly disturbed by its lack of variation.

Songs like “The Spell” and its epic bleakness tend to dominate a good portion of the album. Others like “The Letter” and “The Waiter #5” show some promise with dense instrumentation and BHP’s trademark instrument (the saw), but still end with the same feeling of hopelessness, depression, and feelings of a broken heart.

Dread aside though, and there’s plenty of it, The Spell can be absolutely gorgeous at times, even in light of its overbearing darkness. Songs like the hopeful and upbeat “Not Just Words,” and “GPS” keep things from being too dismal as does the opener “Tangled” and its strange, yet compelling entrapment theme.

Largely, the music of BHP is overtly moody and brooding. At times it’s very gentile and soothing and other times it’s rather uncomfortable and heavy. Overall, The Spell is a grim, deeply introspective and perpetually somber piece of work. It’s the perfect mate when down, and terribly wrong when up. Listen carefully.


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