The new project of musician JP Damron BleakHeart, which subsequently became a full-time band (with the members from such bands as Dreadnough or Across Tundras), has released their first album “Dream Griever” via the label Sailor. This time John chose to show his milder side through his music, and although it is partially based on post metal foundation, it is closer to tender and enigmatic indie experiments of Dreadnought.
The music of BleakHeart is soft, but at the same time intense, there’s no fragility or insecurity, it sounds pertinent and exceptionally harmonic, and the great credit for that should be given to the mystical voice of songstress Kelly Schilling, as well as decent songwriting. “Dream Griever” tells about how absurd is the humankind’s own created inner destruction and life within these borders, the music is filled with negative experiences, which are presented in beautiful and radiant form of art. And despite the modest self-restraint and ample monotonousness, this release is influenced by diverse musical styles and is filled with controversial emotions. And through this smooth and soft perspective to experience this kind of music is even more interesting, because it exposes the listener to a rich range of sensations. And the cover art perfectly illustrates these dark feelings – the mental limitedness bursting into the stars, and that’s also a hint for some positive outcome.
Despite the laid-back and tender vocals à la Portishead and the frequent acoustic passages, there’s still a lot of metal music – the elements of fuzzy sludge from time to time pop up and immerse into heavier and muddier stuff, but the slow doom passages create minimalistic darkness. The jazz influence occasionally emerges during “Dream Griever”, for example, in “Ash Bearer”, but on the last title-track “Dream Griever” the jazzy piano offers some extra progressiveness. The doomy atmosphere with alternative and independent vision boldly condones the stylistic term “alternative doomgaze”, though even these canny words can’t truly express all the feelings, which conveys this alluring and muffled music. The calmest and most sorrowful acoustic parts are closer to an atmosphere of church choir, so soothingly tranquil and serene. And while the most part of the songs is sad and melancholic, there can be found some major vibes (“The Dead Moon” and “Dream Griever”), so that’s why this music lacks total sense of despair, even through the darkest and grievous researches of human psyche there always can be found a tiny ray of light.
The songs always start with slow acoustic passages, followed by the silent and ethereal voice of Kelly, and within this peaceful and melancholic airy voyage the metal music penetrates in. Down-tuned guitar riffs have southern flair and are strongly distorted, they sound lazy and juicy, making this record simpler and rawer, and then more intense and emotional voice of singer tunes in. She sings louder at these moments, but she doesn’t scream or goes wild, but force of tension is through the roof, she doesn’t spill the obvious and visible emotions, but still is able to show much more. It seems like, the voice of Kelly can raise from the dead even the emptiest and featureless music, and even though the music of BleakHeart isn’t overloaded with vocal lines, the musicians have found the perfect balance how in the unobtrusive and calm manner to reflect all their musical ideas.
Shoegaze, indie rock, alternative lo-fi rock, sludge metal, there are hundreds of bands, playing this kind of music, but it’s not so easy to combine all these together (and not to mention the influence of jazz, psychedelic rock and other surprises), and stay sane without a need to dive into the absurdness of avant-garde. And BleakHeart managed to stay holistic, melodic and chilly fresh on the musical scene, overcrowded with clones.
Release date: October 23rd 2020
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