Black Sheep Wall imploded following 2015’s prophetically titled I’m Going to Kill Myself and its hilariously cartoon-cute artwork. Now, half-a-decade and a rejuvenated reformation later, they’re keeping their art otherworldly on Songs for the Enamel Queen. This is exemplified in the still cartoony, yet hardly cute cover (once again by Jeff Rogers) and the music. “New Measures of Failure” finds the Californian sludge lords wading deeper into the surreal swamp.
The song is 13.5 minutes and feels like it—a compliment here. Many descriptions of long songs wax poetic about how quickly they pass, but this makes full use of its runtime. Yet it doesn’t get boring, instead going from sludge rumblings through similarly murky tones played in a frantic manner. A third of the way through, they go into a self-described Slint-esque talking part—the kind chaotic metalcore bands adopted. And so it goes, from rambling ranting to rumbling reverb, tiring out the listener throughout.
It’s a feeling appropriate to the message of the song, as told by vocalist Brandon Gillichbauer (Rowsdower, ex-Admiral Angry).
“‘New Measures of Failure’ was one of the last songs that I finished writing lyrics for on this new album. The title is derived from a conversation between myself and original vocalist Jeff Ventimiglia regarding our current life situations. ‘New Measures of Failure’ is a reflection on the process of drying-out, the realities of relapsing, and the subsequent sexual desires that come with chasing any form of serotonin. The song was written in part after a long term on-again off-again relationship had gone belly up for the last time and the cathartic release that comes from the desire and acceptance of being loathed by someone who once loved you.”
Bathe in that hatred below.