Boomkat Product Review:
Crushing Metal alchemy from Jack Adams (Mumdance) and James Kelly (Altar Of Plagues, Wife), committing a ravishing assault on the senses in their debut album as Bliss Signal
Originally conceived as a live project for Unsound Krakow 2017, Bliss Signal bloomed into a full studio project with recent release of their ‘Drift EP’, and this towering debut album now cements the duo’s efforts in bridging the ostensibly, mutually exclusive fields of Black Metal and electronic rave music. And we say ostensibly because, in 2018, this kind of hybridisation shouldn’t be seen as novel or even unlikely, but rather as a necessary experiment in diversifying bonds, building bridges and finding commonality between fringe or extreme styles and communities.
On the one hand, James Kelly brings a wealth of experience to the project, from playing in lauded BM group Altar Of Plagues, to his forays into emosh electronica as Wife, while adept collaborator Jack Adams logically leads on from his work with Logos and Shapednoise in The Sprawl (also an Unsound commissioned project) to bring powerful sound designer skills and a rave-hungry temperament to the table.
The result of their endeavours is a blistering bind of styles, matching the bloodied and bludgeoning repetition of BM proper with the body-focussed momentum of hard dance music. But the results exceed the sum of its parts thanks to the artist’s deep, experiential knowledge of their genre’s cliches, and their concerted effort to consolidate those styles while generating something new in the process.
It’s possible to find precedents for this music in the fringe lunacy of Wold and its Black Mecha output, but Bliss Signal tend toward feats of chest-bursting emotion rooted in the feeling of communal reverie and ecstasy, both negative and positive, that comes with raves and big stage gigs.
Factor in mixing by Jaime Gomez-Arellano (Paradise Lost, Sunn 0))), Ghost) and mastering at Abbey Road Studios, and you’ve got a steeply impressive sound.