The Black Ryder | The Door Behind The Door (The Anti-Machine Machine)

As the listener, what you get is enjoyable and pleasing—it’s just all been heard before—and done better.



If you are a fan of dream-pop meets shoe-gaze in the vein of Slow-dive and Mazzy Star, then The Black Ryder’s 2014 release, The Door Behind The Door is probably right up your alley. In general, The Black Ryder leans more towards the dream-pop camp in the spectrum of the ubiquitous “shoe-gaze” genre.

Unfortunately, most acts sound so familiar that it’s really difficult to differentiate between the various acts. Most fall into the same trappings and either try to sound like the next My Bloody Valentine and kill you with noise or they go more the wispy route of Cocteau Twins and the aforementioned Mazzy Star.

The Door Behind The Door falls within the later camp for the most part, thankfully. The album is very reminiscent of Mazzy Star with ethereal vocals, haunting acoustic ballads, and squelching guitar that that weaves in and out of the song like a fuzz driven serpent. Just like their 2009 debut album, Take The Ticket, Take The Ride, there is nothing new presented here, nothing overly original. That is not necessarily a bad thing, mind you. As the listener, what you get is enjoyable and pleasing—it’s just all been heard before—and done better.

The Black Ryder takes a very similar, almost formulaic route as any Mazzy Star—hell, or even Black Rebel Motorcycle Club album. You have eerie noise filled tracks like album opener “Babylon,” haunting acoustic driven tracks like “The Going Up Was Worth The Coming Down” and “Throwing Stones,” and jammy rockers like “Santaria Pts 1 & 2” which is a cracker of a track.

Again, this is not to say that it’s a bad album, because it is not. The track order in particular is well done as they spread the better tracks through the album so that is never feels like its dragging at any point. You do not get bombarded early on only to be lulled to boredom at the end.

The Door Behind The Door may very well grow more and more with additional listens. Ultimately however, this is going to be an album that gets spun occasionally but not one that is in constant rotation or looked upon as a go-to album. C+ | Michael Koehler

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