There is a god. At least a god that dwells in the underworld of heavy music. There must be because this release is blessed with the rare ability to make a mid-tempo album filled with more heaviness than any other release I've heard in ages.
Let me ask you this: what is not to love about a Belgian outfit who can take an earth-shattering smattering of influences like grunge, post-hardcore, noise and sludge, and turn it into a gathering of sonic battering? That question was both silly and entirely rhetorical. ESLLY are hideous and crushing, carrying a Melvins-like heaviness in tone with the type of throat-splitting vocals that will send fans of Full Of Hell and Code Orange running to grab copies of their debut full-length. The group have been cutting their teeth on this type of dirge-like drudgery for over four years, which means they're primed and ready to take on the world. Judging by the strength and quality of this debut full-length, that looks like something they're aiming to do.
There is a hopelessness and dramatic ennui that is accentuated by the pacing that never runs above the middle of the spectrum. Sometimes you just need to stay in third gear to deliver the most punch. And Bluest Shade Of Black is one menacing punch, to the gut. And if you aren't careful it will try to dig around and rip out your heart while they're at it. Even while I have tried to turn around some intensely negative thinking in my own personal life, this band comes along and discombobulates all that as though it was all nothing. I'm reminded of so many Sunday afternoons spent with The Cure or Smiths records, that's the type of grey-skied grimness that this band is able to convey. But instead of wallowing, it merely sets this up to be the weather under which they conjure up demons, both personal and societal.
I'll put it this way. It's March, and I've already got one of my solid nominees for bands who are about to blow the fuck up. I'll leave it at that. If you need more convincing, you're sleeping on one of the most important new groups to surface from the international heavy music scene.
Bluest Shade Of Black Track Listing:
01. Bed Of Pine
02. "'Self-Portrait', 2016"
03. (no) Future Friends
04. Catharsis (Self-Help)
08. Black Seed
09. Half Of Me / Half The Time