Florence Black / Stunning Bed Of Nails Foretells A Huge Year

It isn’t easy to gauge the interest in this release when you live in South Wales. Florence Black have been plying their trade for over a decade in these parts. It’s only in the last two years that they’ve started to get the attention that many in these parts would say the band richly deserve.

Florence Black – Bed of Nails

Release Date: 2 February 2024

Words: Paul Hutchings

They’ve done as much as they possibly can since the release of their debut album, Weight Of The World, in 2021, with festival slots, European support shows and UK headline tours. It was evident at Steelhouse Festival in 2023 that the band were exhausted, with a slightly tired performance. Although, a few weeks later, they were firing on all cylinders at Stondead.

Having taken some time off from live shows, apart from two gigs including a headline show in their hometown, Merthyr Tydfil, it’s now time for the trio of Tristan Thomas, Perry Davies, and Jordan Evans to step up with that all-important sophomore release.

Florence Black - Album cover of Bed Of Nails
Florence Black have proved that they are here for the long ride.

You can’t fault the start of this record. In a similar style to the anthemic Zulu that opened Weight Of The World, it’s a high-tempo, riff-heavy Start Again that kicks off the party in big style here. A smouldering, emotive piledriver, fans will already be familiar with this release as it’s one of the early singles.

It’s nothing original, but what Florence Black do so well is grab a tune, haul it up by its lapels, and turn it into a monster. And that’s exactly what they do here. The second track, Don’t Hold Me Down, maintains the energy of the opener, albeit with a slightly more melodic chorus. This is sure to get venues on their forthcoming tour bouncing.

The title track comes early. Bed Of Nails allows Thomas to give full range, raspy yet melodic, the crunching riff almost touching a Nu-Metal vein, with the soaring chorus competing with the throaty roar that points towards a more extreme approach. It’s this unusual combination that makes this one of the most impressive songs on the album and highlights this band’s ability to make anthemic music.

Florence Black - Stonedead Festival 2023
Florence Black – Stonedead Festival 2023. Photo: Paul Hutchings/MetalTalk

With 12 tracks to enjoy, and remember, five of them are already out there, the question is whether the Merthyr lads have put in any filler. Well, by halfway, there’s little sign, with the likes of Taxman, the classic rock vibe of Look Up and the gentler Warning Sign, with subtle echoes of the stunning Sun & Moon, all reeking of quality.

Beautiful Lover is probably one of the weaker songs on the album, but when an album is as strong as this, it has to give, even if it is just a little. It’s one for the radio, though, and it will only be a matter of time before this is heard on those classic rock shows’ playlists.

Florence Black - Maid Of Stone Festival 2023
Florence Black – Maid Of Stone Festival 2023. Photo: Robert Sutton/MetalTalk

We know, though, that what Florence Black really enjoys is letting rip and rocking out, and there are plenty of opportunities to open the pit here. The Motörhead undercurrent of The Way Home gets things moving with a dynamic riff and vibrant, pulsing pace. Rockin’ Ring starts calmly enough but soon erupts into a devilish, brooding Heavy Metal song. This is Florence Black, where I like them most: hard, angry, and explosive.

And then they switch styles again. The Forest is almost country in its vibe and yet retains that edge that this trio can bring with ease. Whether it’s the seemingly effortless manner with which Thomas sings, the way that the band can twist and turn their approach, or just the overall vibrancy of this song, The Forest is another surprise which makes this album better on every listen.

Florence Black - Hellfest Festival 2023, Clisson.
Florence Black – Hellfest Festival 2023, Clisson. Photo: Georgia Brittain/MetalTalk

We reach the final track, the poignant and melancholic Back To The End. It’s another made-for-rock radio song, a lighter aloft track, and seemingly the perfect conclusion to an album that takes its time to work into the psyche. But when it does settle, it’s almost impossible not to repeat the journey over and over again.

This will feature highly at the end of the year. In Bed Of Nails, Florence Black have proved that they are here for the long ride. The future is golden, and with the right bit of luck, 2024 promises to be one huge year for three lads from Merthyr Tydfil.

Sleeve Notes

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