Spring is joyous. Together we wash off the ice and ick left from winter, put down whatever frosty metal that has been flooding our listening since December, and prepare ourselves for the coming months of longer days, and warmer nights. In doing so, KÓLGA, the new blackened surf rock (or black surf metal) outfit out of Dallas, Texas have presented a thrilling fucking ride of riptide massacre with Black Tides which officially comes out Friday, March 29, but we are premiering in full today.

Balancing breezy and lighthearted surf rock with blistering black metal blast beats and a sprinkle of psychedelic connective tissue, the quintet lay the fuck down some of the gnarliest shit out.  With a gimmick comparable to Ghoul, and a musicianship to black metal like Immortal, these guys give you seven good reasons to fucking obsess over this album.

“Space Beach Massacre” does a wonderful job setting the scene for the world we’re about to be dropped into. The vocals are muddled, as if underwater, with a spacey riff and marching percussion building up before diving into a fucking awesome display of summer as fuck surf rock. It’s obvious from the jump that KÓLGA has a keen sense of balancing fun with talent, and never loses sight of that throughout these seven tracks.

The surf rock shines bright, and gives a lot of glitz and easiness, with a dedication to really hammering out the details of what makes surf rock as a subgenre so appealing, but also pointing out the inherent psychedelic connections surf rock has, and always has had.  No better example of this than the pinnacle track “Tethis”. Bringing in some samples to drive the lore, KÓLGA take a wavelike time signature, and develop a wall of sound that’s rich, and engulfing as much as it is brutal. It’s a testament to the musicianship that has gone into this album, which elevates them beyond just their gimmick.

That gimmick, however, does mix well with the shinier elements of the album.  Like Black Tides opener “Space Beach Massacre” and the fucking awesome pure surf rock banger “Riptide”. On paper it sounds like a fucking bonkers idea to mix these two subgenres, but leaning into the more experimental elasticity black metal offers, gives KÓLGA an opportunity to make it work, and they do, fucking awesomely.  That feat puts them in the realm moreso of an experimental black metal outfit amongst the ranks of Oranssi Pazuzu and the magnificent Rebel Wizard, than the sillier side of the fence.

Gimmicks are fun, though. When done right they provide a sense of theater that can carry a band’s mythos, inspiration, and creativity far. Immortal is proof of that, and while they tend to lend on a little more of the serious side, they are still proof that a gimmick can lead way to fantastic music. KÓLGA takes that same philosophy, ditches the wintery hell that is Blashyrkh, and throws it onto the beach, into the fucking sun, and adds violent aliens.

That makes the entire endeavor feel like the golden age of horror comedies of the 80s. With the jokes landing as much as the gore does, KÓLGA lands the blast beats as much as the surf needling, all to show that a group of profoundly talented people came up with a wild fucking idea, and fleshed it out with the best results possible.  It’s a thrilling ride that has both violent stints, as much as it has breezy segue.

While most of the album has tracks wholly dedicated to whichever element they’re focusing on, when it all comes together on album finisher “The Kraken”, the vision comes into full focus. KÓLGA develops monumental pressure, then drives from the surf, to the depths, passes some psychedelic shininess, then whips back around for some brutal breakdowns. It’s a glorious victory lap for a new sound that will have the underground talking for months.

It’s almost as if this entire idea was born from watching The Black Dahlia Murder’s Hawaiian shirt themed live show run, and succeeds in every way. I’m curious how these world building elements translate in a live setting, and I can only imagine it’s nothing but a fucking stellar party. While we all patiently wait for their tour dates to bubble to the surface, give these seven tracks the attention they deserve and stream the fuck out of Black Tides above before it drops on March 29th via Otitis Media Records, preorder on their Bandcamp, and give their socials a follow below.

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"I'm the Osiris of this shit" -Russel Tyrone Jones

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