The Black Ryder consists of Aimee Nash and Scott Von Ryper, who hail from Australia, but have recently relocated to L.A. Back in 2009 they released their first album, Buy The Ticket, which earned them some recognition as they premiered their self-proclaimed “rhinestone drone dark rock” music. The Door Behind The Door is a dramatic and gorgeous exploration of this genre, complete with standout tracks as well as an intensifying growth over the course of its duration.
If you were to listen to the first and last track of this record, you would be mystified as how one could lead to the other. Opener “Babylon” is a swirling and twisted slow core jam, complete with heavily distorted guitars that rip through the mix for a brief introduction. Then the band moves into their sweet spot: a sometimes-hazy wall of dark sound comprised of detailed and alarmingly subtle nuances that move you. Take one of my favorite numbers, “Let Me Be Your Light” for example. This number slinks in with its whirring sound and slowly takes off, the transparent vocals of Aimee Nash giving the whole number a juxtaposition between the lightness of her voice and the heaviness of the instrumentation. Infectious, deeply moving, well crafted, this song, as well as the rest of the numbers, hit you in a place you didn’t even know existed.
By the end of the album, there’s an overall shift from the heavy rock that The Black Ryder rolls in with to a beautiful and elegant refined orchestral sound; the very opposite of the historical progression of these genres. However, this transition feels nothing but natural and right for the band, as even when they dwell on the noisier side of things, there are signs of this elegance that creeps into the mix even in the beginning of the album. Like a well crafted novel or movie, upon second or third listen all the way through, you notice these subtle moments of foreshadowing embedded in the mix on moments like “Let Me Be Your Light.” Once you revisit the album, these moments become ever more apparent, calling your attention to the precision and intricacy that this band have done so well. When you reach the stirring last number, “La Dernier Sommeil (The Final Sleep),” you are ready for the tune, but still overwhelmed by its instrumental grace and fluidity.
The Door Behind The Door is a sprawling, constantly changing and progressing work from this duo that resembles a walk down a winding path, one which continuously gives you a breathtaking view with each curve you round. At 54 minutes in length, it begs you to simply sit down and do nothing but listen, letting the music wash over you in waves, though if you’re not careful it’ll sweep you away in the best possible way.