The Black Queen – Infinite Games album review

Greg Puciato’s synth-driven venture The Black Queen enters a dystopian realm with Infinite Games

The Black Queen album cover

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Infinite Games

The Black Queen album cover

1. Even Still I Want To
2. Thrown Into The Dark
3. No Accusations
4. Your Move
5. Lies About You
6. Impossible Condition
7. Spatial Boundaries
8. 100 To Zero
9. Porcelain Veins
10. One Edge Of Two

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The Black Queen’s debut, 2016’s Fever Daydream, propelled the Los Angeles trio onto the world’s radar with its beguiling synthesis of early 80s synthpop, coldwave and industrialised precision, showcasing an emotionally intense compositional outlook alongside a steadfast refusal to pay lip service to genre conventions. The inclusion of The Dillinger Escape Plan frontman Greg Puciato would intrigue metalheads, while the album’s expression of passion and individualism acted as the hook, encouraging them to embrace the experience. 

Blindsided by personal and professional upheaval – equipment thefts, Chris Cornell’s suicide while Greg toured alongside him to name a few – in the two years post-release, Infinite Games is as much an act of refusal to recoil in the face of adversity as it is a statement of intent. This is a genuine labour of love, and an expansive journey into the dystopian sphere of pulsating rhythms, chilling ambience and disarming minimalism, incorporating more influences and unsettling experimentalism than ever before. Clocking in at barely two minutes, opener Even Still I Want To works more like a distorted soundbite, painting a troubled vision and laying a foundation for the sumptuous Thrown Into The Dark, which evokes the driving electronica of decades past and present. Laden with penetrating melodies, icy r’n’b instincts and throbbing basslines, No Accusations and One Edge Of Two are the most outwardly pop-centric tracks on offer; Greg’s seductive crooning (‘There is nothing I want more than to die with you next to me’) during the former evokes Nine Inch Nails Closer-era Trent Reznor with both lovingly mashing analogue synths with glitchy wobbles showcasing this band’s unparalleled knack for composing lush, anthemic choruses. Delve deeper, however, and the light gives way to darkness, for carved around the shimmering neon veneer you’ll also encounter glitchy mid-track interludes and schizophrenic bursts of white noise. Turn it up and be prepared to lose yourself; Infinite Games is a shining example of fearless eclecticism.