Archer Black is the brainchild of composer and songwriter Dustin Morgan. Together, he and his nine companions make for a fascinating experience with their debut LP, Forgiveness Is A Weapon. The disc opens with the tribal drums and yells of “Addiction Is A Trigger Puller I” and as they crescendo, Morgan hops in with trippy vocals accompanied by outrageous drums.
The beginning of the album features a lot of that eerie ambiance. With the trip that is “Addiction Is A Trigger Puller I” as well as the haunting backing vocals of “The Bomb,” and surrealism of the album’s namesake, “Forgiveness Is A Weapon,” you might think that you get a good sense of what the album’s all about.
That’s not the case, however, as much of the album is beautifully composed. Despite the four or five songs that resemble dirges, “The Sounding” is beautiful and the blaring trumpets pave the way for a funky beat in “The Lost War,” and the violins take the spotlight in this album’s best track, the instrumental “Game Vs. Real.”
The first three quarters of the album is great, regardless of its depressing overtones. “Onward And Down” is the only speed bump on Forgiveness Is A Weapon. Morgan’s vocals are somewhat whiny. Not even the trumpets can save this one. Similarly, “Bayonets” opens with an interesting beat, but slowly turns out sounding like another dirge at the end. The fantastic “Port Of Call” is the only example of tone change on the disc, sounding both triumphant and happy. It’s a refreshing change of pace.
Forgiveness Is A Weapon utilizes many different musical aspects and instruments, ranging from the dark and dreary to the psychedelic to the surreal. The instrumentation on this disc is excellent, but Morgan’s whiny vocals and shrieks really need some refinement in some instances.
In A Word: Somber