On this second release, Black Map have finally found their stride. The San Franciscan supergroup, formed of Dredg guitarist Mark Engles, Far drummer Chris Robyn and Trophy Fire vocalist Ben Flanagan on bass, have profited from Dredg’s 2014 hiatus in the form of a renewed focus; with Mark now treating Black Map as his main project, the attention to detail on In Droves shows.
Melodies and rhythms are taught and clearly defined, and the trademark Dredg and Far crossover between post-hardcore and art metal is present throughout, as can be seen on lead track Run Rabbit Run, bass-led Foxglove and anthemic Heavy Waves. Not only that, but there are also progressive elements; while the LP most resembles the sound of Dredg’s Catch Without Arms, a period which saw their band both at their most commercially successful and their most interesting as a songwriting unit, tracks like White Fence flirt with shoegaze and post-rock, while Octavia is almost reminiscent of Russian Circles’ relentless post-metal. Chris Robyn’s powerhouse drumming keeps things anchored even as the more progressive ideas are explored, resulting in a punchy and thrilling collection of songs.