Bliss Signal combine freezing synth and caustic guitar work on mind-melting debut record

There is more than one way to play heavy music, and we’ve come to learn over the past several years as the boundaries have been pushed further and further into the distance. For those who strictly adhere to the old ways, you’ll always have bands that acquiesce. But this genre is a living, breathing organism, and its continual evolution is the way we guarantee it survives.

On that note, today we’re tackling the self-titled debut full-length from Bliss Signal, and electronic metal project from James Kelly (Altar of Plagues, Wife) and UK DJ/produce Jack Evans (Mumdance) who deliver eight tracks that largely are synth driven but definitely pack a metallic punch. Don’t confuse this with the infusion of darkwave projects that have come along lately and found a soft spot among metal’s more open-minded circles. While parts of this eight-track collection definitely would not sound out of place in a B sci-fi or horror soundtrack, it’s also a decidedly metal record. It’s loud, aggressive, and if the band decided to lay over the top some ear-piercing shrieks or growls, you would not bat an eye. Instead, they stay instrumental and bring some seriously horrific and icy shit, stuff that won’t make you dance but wallow in a corner in the throes of panic.

“Slow Scan” is your opener, and it emerges from a thick synth haze, as blips echo, and it feels like you’re navigating through a weird, icy dream. “Bliss Signal” follows as the blips carry over, noise and synth crash, and the intensity builds. The noise gives off almost an exuberant vibe, as the track rips itself away. “Surge” arrives in a storm of cold keys and a dense fog, while the tempo pounds away, and things get frenzied. A metallic rage begins to envelop, bringing on heaviness and grim reality, as the pace picks up, the sounds blind, and everything ends in a tornadic vortex. “N16 Drift” feels like an early morning daze, as the clouds build, synth shines, and things begin to feel frosty and wintry. The chill spreads amid a rumbling underneath, as the track fades away.

“Floodlight” has guitars striking, as ominous tones flood, and beats spill in and add violence. Rays of light shoot through and blind, while the sounds of urban moans add a level of sootiness to the song. Overcast weirdness makes things feel alien, as the track swims through clouds, mesmerizing before it fades away. “Endless Rush” has an out-of-body haze, as sounds flood the mind, and a droning, driving pace accelerates the panic. The volume continues to rise and oppress, amplifying the danger, before the whole thing washes away. “Tranq” has guitars jabbing away and drawing blood, as riffs bloody noses, and the song gets loud and abrasive. The tempo slices away, the emotions burst, and the sounds caterwaul and bleed out. Closer “Ambi Drift” situates into noise swarms, as an inhuman voice is swallowed behind an ocean wall, and the visibility fades. The pressure then splits any sense of calm, while the world rumbles beneath, and the track dissolves into fever dream.

Bliss Signal are one of the many bands pushing metal into weirder and more intricate terrains, and their self-titled debut is bound to confuse those who only adhere to the strictest of rules. If metal is about chaos and destroying boundaries, then Bliss Signal have to be considered one of the more disruptive projects to come along lately. They lure you in with icy synthscapmdses and then slay you with your own sword, with you never seeing the attack coming.

For more on the band, go here:

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Or here (vinyl/digital):

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