The Black Queen’s new album, Infinite Games, could possibly not sound any less like The Dillinger Escape Plan, frontman Greg Puciato’s perhaps most well known project. That band, though, has concluded, and The Black Queen is now here in their stead.
The band’s 2018 Federal Prisoner LP strikes the listener as remarkably effective for what it is. On that note, the band members themselves sound confident and sure of what they’re doing, which lends strength to any artistic project.
They take the listener through a sonic dreamscape; there’s a sense of vastness at times, perhaps an ironic callback to Dillinger, but in this case, the focus rests with the edge of that expanse. The record feels more about framing, musically speaking, than about filling up the spaces in between notes as much as possible or metaphorically knocking the listener off their feet.
The music instead remains, in a sense, dark. The mostly electronic tones blend into an aural haze (where a driving melody does, importantly in this case, remain). The very construction of the songs themselves pushes this sense. On the one hand, Puciato’s vocal work is flowing, not jagged, and alongside that work, the instrumentals blend into each other as the songs proceed.
The vibe of the work honestly matches up well with the cover art, which depicts some sort of bubbling and/or splotched surface. The band feels as though they rely heavily on this, distinguishing themselves with their ability to capture the snapshot of a mood, or multiple moods, perhaps.
Throughout Infinite Games, those moods come across as reserved, but there’s definitely a place for that. The musical construction allows the listener to have their own space while listening. There’s nothing overwhelming, although that works for some artists sometimes, or pinpointed on a particular idea. Instead, the artists have laid out their buffet, and in a sense, they’ve left it up to the listener to decide what to do next. Across the dynamic album, love and icy rejection make an appearance, bookending a work probing what hides in the shadows.
The work feels like the soundtrack to your nighttime drives, and it’s definitely worth consideration.