Album Review: Blessings - Biskopskniven
Reviewed by Dan Barnes
Whereas Blessings’ previous album, Bittervetten, was raw and aggressive in the mould of Unsane or Today Is the Day, Bishopskniven sees a band stepping into a brave new world of dissonant noise and unbridled rage.
From the outset the listener is presented with discordant rhythms and unstable Post-Hardcore riffs, all driven by an incessant drum pattern and heavy, low-end guitar. A Belly Full of Stones sees the dual vocals competing against each other and above the massive swathes of noise that arrive like a musical landslide, ripping the song into pieces.
There is a sense of disparate forces competing across the whole record and this use of musical shading, where one moment you are listening to the unhurried chanting and occasional chiming bell of Strings of Red, the next it turns dark and uncompromisingly weighty.
There is little, if anything, conventional in Bishopskniven’s sonic pallet as they utilise elements of post hardcore, noise, punk and indie music, among others, to build an angry and abrasive collection of songs, each of which has its own distinct identity.
The disconnect between songs can be unsettling at times: as A Belly Full of Stones reaches its crescendo through a very visceral and very terrestrial symphony, the album takes a U-turn and reaches for the heavens with The Whip Hand, whose scratch-string riffing is played above an ethereal melody.
Old Bones begins with a feedback loop and the sound of an old tape loading into a computer before breaking into a doomy, sludgy riff built around some impressively prominent bass work. From out of nowhere, the track switches into an acoustic section before returning to reprise itself in a backwards masking manner.
Bishopskniven (which translates to The Bishop’s Knife) finishes with the most accessible track on offer, Black Vestal. A heavy riffing and distinctly groovey stomper that is epic in its scope and constantly engrossing. The use of loop and groove as the song (and album) plays out is sufficient to pull you back in and start again from the beginning.
At times loud and confrontational and at others trance-inducing and emotive, Blessings’ new album is multi-faceted and full of little surprises for the keen-eared listener. If you’re a fan of At the Drive-In’s discordant take on Post-Hardcore or Converge’s wall of noise approach to music, you’d be well suited to checking out this release