Black Hole King is the debut, home-recorded album from Reading based progressive rock quartet, Formby. Taking inspiration from the likes of Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, Muse, Smashing Pumpkins and Queen, their innovative and distinctive sound is getting them noticed.
With plays on several radio stations under their belt – despite only coming together in 2012 – Formby are already taking steps in the right direction. On Black Hole King we have eight songs that for fans of heavy, alternative progressive rock and intricate musical displays, are a must.
Reign is the first track, and immediately sets the tone for the rest of the album. The eerie scene is set by the gonging of an old bell, layered over a storm which winds into a spiralling cacophony of singing guitars, bass undertones and powerful drumming. Several minutes in, and Formby are successfully ticking all the boxes already.
Regardless of the fact that we only hear vocalist Dan Sorrell for the first time in second track Black Hole King, the sheer magnitude of each song is enough to keep listeners well and truly glued. Said second track is a whirling, twisting amalgam that is an utter joy to experience. Much like the rest of the album.
Ghost Shadow and Tides of War are the third and fourth tracks respectively, and are both extremely hard to find fault in. At times, it is almost implausible that this is the debut album from a newly formed band. Tides of War acts as a breath of fresh air and a change of tune for the listener; mellow and light, it is a delightful pause before we are thrust back into the fire with fifth track Some Velvet Skies.
Dynamic and cleaner than some of the tracks before it, the previously mentioned Some Velvet Skies brings with it the clear evidence of Formby’s inspirations. Armed with melodic drumming that provides a strong backbone, it unveils layers upon layers of instrumental art: growling guitar riffs supported by the keys of an ethereal piano, which then transforms into a punchy track complete with winding chorus, providing the perfect juxtaposition.
Sea of Tranquillity is up next, and truly lives up to its promising name. Calm and smooth, it is easy to understand why it featured as single of the week on Reading 107FM. Leading us into the final two songs of the album is Goblins and, unsurprisingly, is of the same calibre as the entirety of Black Hole King. Very rarely is an album so flawless, and even more so is a review devoid of criticism; but such is the quality of Black Hole King, that a bad word cannot be justified.
Bringing about the end of this eight track album is Abdecation. The overall beauty of Black Hole King is incontrovertible, and Formby have certainly done themselves no harm by producing it. Imagining where this band may go in the near future as they develop is certainly an exciting prospect.