Black Moth – Anatomical Venus

Often reviews of an album consist of ‘this sounds like band x’, the singer sounds like ‘singer y’, and ‘this album sounds like album z’. But this is not the case with Black Moth: they are special; they sound like Black Moth, no one else. This in itself is a mighty achievement.Their song-writing and performances are first class. The musicianship is peerless. Harriet Hyde’s vocals are power, beautiful and sincere… and unmistakably hers. But best of all Anatomical Venus is heavy from the female, rather than the male, perspective.

Patriarchal influences threaten to destroy hard-won female rights here in the west, thanks to men who see women as possessions rather than people. Make no mistake, 2018 is a year where a line has to made on the ground and men and women alike have to say, women have a right to work unmolested by men; they have a right to walk down the street, dressed as they like safely; they have a right to be themselves, not a possession in the hands of beasts. It’s all about safety and respect (a world with acid attacks on women is a world we should be ashamed to live in). Our institutions are clearly not taking care of women; so we will all have to demand they do. Every thing we stand up for is a step in the right direction. We need to go forward in friendship and respect into the 21st century, not backward to some cruel hateful medieval dark ages. Black Moth’s newest album emerges in this context.

The striking cover of Anatomical Venus is chosen with careful thought. Harriet Hyde discovered the 18th century wax models of women used by surgeons to learn their craft. As Harriet states, “The Anatomical Venus spoke volumes to me. She embodies the male gaze, a history of men dissecting women in an attempt to understand her, reveal her magic, snuff out her unruly flame, while all the time needing her to be beautiful and aesthetically pleasing to their taste. These models are not simply practical medical models for education – they are fetish objects, women stripped back as far as you can go. But there is a look of defiance in their eyes as if to say, ‘keep looking if you like. I dare you. Peel back my skin and peep behind my ribcage, you won’t find anything unless I choose to tell you’.”

An outstanding and important album.

(New Heavy Sounds/Candlelight Records)

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Steve Earles

Steve Earles is author and co-author of numerous projects, including To End All Wars: The WWI Graphic Anthology, available summer 2014 (http://toendallwarscomic.wordpress.com/writers/).