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Black Salvation - Uncertainty is Bliss

Label: Relapse Records
Format: Download
Released: 2018
Reviewed By: Jack Mangan
Rating: 9/10

Black Salvation have set 2018 ablaze with their “Uncertainty is Bliss” album. Wow. When’s the last time you heard a record that felt untamed and dangerous, but still rocked and engaged your senses? There’s a barely-controlled chaos to their sound, a live, unprocessed, rising frenzy that feels a bit like an altered state for the listener. The music pulses with primitive power and magnetism, sounding like it could score a Bacchanalian festival of fire and writhing dancers.


Classic Punk music was typically about pure blasts of rage over simple chord repetitions, burning recorded frenzy onto tape. That’s not what this is. What Black Salvation delivers is just as wild as early Punk, but with more depth and maturity.
The best songs on the record actually come with titles that are great descriptors of the experience: “In a Casket-Ride,” “Getting Slowly Lost,” and “A Direction is Futile.” In the latter of these, Black Salvation indulge their exploratory whimsy, allowing the song itself to lead, rather than the other way around. A few bands have historically been known to pull off this kind of combination of convulsive, tempered abandon, and resonant, soulcraft depth: Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, U2, The Doors, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Generation X, are among the best-known examples.
Their wildness isn’t due to garage band sloppiness, this is the hectic madness that Black Salvation cultivate and control; this is the cobra that they lure from its basket. It’s controlled recklessness, if you’ll forgive the oxymoron.
Birger Schwidop plays potent basslines that enhance and expand the larger context, while Uno Bruniusson’s drums drift and slide the tempo around the discarded metronome, and in Paul Schlesier’s hands, Black Salvation’s guitar notes are bent to the fringes of in-tune, sometimes a la My Bloody Valentine. Schlesier also kills it as the trio’s vocalist, with a style that calls out to Robert Smith, Bono, Iggy Pop, Johnny Rotten, Nick Cave.
One more unrelated metaphor: Great Rock n’ Roll often feels like a rollercoaster rush, but this is like a rollercoaster where the wheels spark and lift from the track. Black Salvation’s unfortunate B.S initials shouldn’t discourage anyone.
“Uncertainty is Bliss” is untamed reckless abandon of the best kind. Close your eyes and dive into this bliss.

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