Black Map’s ‘Melodoria’ is a captivating experience

The 3rd studio album from the San Francisco alternative metal band should bring them on the map.


The album cover of “Melodoria” by Black Map.

Atreyu Hinckley, Staff Writer

Black Map, the alternative metal band from San Francisco, returns with their third full length album. The trio consists of Ben Flanagan on bass and vocals,  Mark Engles on guitar and Chris Robyn on drums. The band has toured with fellow alternative metal band Chevelle for many years and cites them as a major influence. 

While the band is still looking for more airwaves and platforms for their music, “Melodoria” may be their ticket to a growing listenership.

“Melodoria” offers a mix of a more radio friendly sound than their previous work. While there are elements of heaviness in their sound, the trio are branching into different sounds to further evolve the tone of their music.

Leading off the album is “Chasms,” which is also the lead single of the album. “Chasms” has a mixture of guitar distortions and riffs that have become a signature sound for the band, and sets the overall mood of the album. The pandemic plays a big influence into the lyrics of “Chasms,” with the song telling the listener what the band has gone through these past couple of years during the pandemic metaphorically.

The tempo of the album takes things to a slower route in “Madness,” providing a catchy bass line and lighter guitar work that sounds reminiscent of being near an ocean. Things speed back up with “Witching Hour,” which offers a catchy rhythm and lyrics that are one of the highlights of the album.

The stand out for the album has to be “Burnout (Do You Mind?),” which is also lyrically inspired by the pandemic. It starts with an acoustic intro similar to Deftones. The song has a guitar solo midway through that sounds both enchanting yet unsettling, and this theme makes it rise among the rest of the album.

The title track “Melodoria” closes out the album and is filled with mesmerizing progression throughout with distorted guitar work that brings the album to a fitting conclusion.

Flanagan’s vocal and bass work in “Melodoria” is a major high point throughout, as he has shown progression in his vocal range as well as giving every track on the record a really good rhythm to follow with his bass lines. Engle’s guitar work and Robyn’s up tempo drumming proves strong as well. All of this together is showing that the band is starting to feel more in control of the sound that they want for their music, while not being afraid to branch out to different elements to their sound.

“Melodoria” is an album that I highly recommend for alternative metal fans. Influences such as Deftones and Chevelle are present throughout the record when it comes to the sound. Black Map is a band that has been consistently making good music since they formed back in 2014, and if you are looking for some rock music to listen to, you won’t be disappointed.