Black Space Riders - We Have Been Here Before

21 Nov 2022 - Thorsten

Progressive Psych-Rock | Release date: 21 Oct 2022 | Favorite song: Worlds Collide dans ma tete

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How good can a band become over the course of their career? How much better? Is it at all possible for a band to improve over let’s say 15 years? Most of us often consider our first contact with a band to be ‘their best ever’, just think of the discussions over LOA’s first two records. Well, Münster, Germany’s Black Space Riders have just shown that a band can get better and more diverse over time. Need proof? Listen to “We Have Been Here Before”!

The five-piece was founded in 2008 and their first release was the self-titled debut back in 2010 and the new record is now their sixth full-length (if we count 2018’s Amoretum Vol. 1 & 2 as one) and the band always had roots in several rock genres but something that shines through on We Have Been Here Before more than ever are the progressive and psychedelic aspect of their work. There surely is a lot of heavy riffing on many of the fifteen tracks (!) and 81 minutes (!!) - talk about getting’ your money’s worth – but the underlying red thread are surely elements like the pretty Kraut’ish psychedelia of band’s like Can or some heavier Kraut-metal like Guru Guru’s UFO or Jeronimo’s self-titled record. If you want to skip directly to a track that purveys that feeling, just listen to the near-eleven-minutes grand finale of ”Worlds collide dans ma tete” - a track that only on the surface level is rather mellow but when you listen more carefully you can hear the smokin hot lava boil underneath the stoic, mantra-esque beat by drummer C.RIP. Across the beat one can find so many little fine-woven guitar elements by SLI and JE that one can already see the 70s slackers looking around the corner. And when that track shows its muscles at the end that should not come as a surprise to anyone. Interestingly the harsher parts are scream-sung in English while the calmer parts are spoken-sung in French. Two worlds colliding, huh? This track for sure is a really perfect ending to a record which has taken so many twists and turns before that one should surely spin it several times before even trying to think one “got it”.

There are many moments when the record has a certain “spacey” vibe – just consider the synth-ladden instrumental intro which then again goes directly into the industrial stomper ”Crawling (down with everything)”. That song only at first glance has a certain off beat rhythm at the end of each sentence, but that is not lack of musicianship but rather a sign of great skills, because keeping those irregularities regular is really difficult – one can ask any drummer to had to keep the beat for Ravel’s ”Bolero”!

Vocally, JE seems to be somewhere between Blixa Bargeld in the calmer moments like ”Beautiful” and Nick Cave in the feistier, chunkier bits, a good blend indeed. I could also throw in a comparison to Ton Steine Scherben’s vocal virtuoso Rio Reiser and when it comes to the screams and shouts there is a bit of uLME’s Arne Heesch in there. The latter can be heard in the post-punkish moneymaker shaker ”AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGH” where his inner demons form the background noise in the chorus and sometimes he shows how his vocals can switch to this darker, harder and more forceful timbre.

The record is diverse with a lot of Space-Rock on it (a bit like Cave-In’s latest Heavy Pendulum), some really good Indie Rock on a Post-Punk basis (the title track could also fit on Ropes of Night’s Infinite Space) and I must say that this is surely one of the finest records to come out of Germany in 2022. ’Man, how much this band has improved over the years, let’s hope they continue to do so, but where to go from here?’ Where? Everywhere and upwards.