Black Heart Procession The Spell

Although mostly known for their slower, somewhat intense, songs, Black Heart Procession now take a bit more of an atmospheric, almost upbeat turn, providing some interesting moments, yet not wholly captivating. Take a song like "The Replacement,” where Pall Jenkins’ voice strains over the tension-filled instrumentation. A mix of strings, piano and synth, it has a dark quality that helps the song, but not enough to burn it into memory. Actually, this is the problem with most of the songs here, where they might be better if the sublime mix of instruments were left to their own devices without Jenkins’ somewhat distracting voice, as in the dirge like "Return to Burn.” Where Black Heart Procession do not stumble is when they take their tempo change head-on, as in the title track. At that point, the song is not about what’s underneath, but how it all comes together. With a slight harmony, Jenkins’ voice gets a gritty quality that is greatly accentuated by the skittering drums and echoed guitars. Black Heart Procession seem to be at odds with which path to take and the result is one that has some good creepy moments, but, really, this Spell is rather weak. (Touch and Go)