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Blood Bright Star - The Silver Head

We first encountered Blood Bright Star on a split single with High aura'd, where their atmospherics were cinematic and expansive. The Silver Head is just as atmospheric but it is by far a much bleaker affair, where the four tracks are dense, driven doom rock locked to repetitious bass and drum movements. Blood Bright Star is Reuben Sawyer. Aside from Blood Bright Star Sawyer also records as Hollow Sunshine, as well as being an artist. His stunning black and white emblematic and illustrative work has adorned sleeves for Chelsea Wolfe and Russian Circles amongst others. Here on The Silver Head, Sawyer's murky tones which draw on the Qabalah and occult practices cast a darker veil over what Blood Bright Star have called "death motorik", a sound combining Krautrock grooves with dark guitar atmospherics.

Much of The Silver Head is dense with repetitious guitar patterns and despite the overtly doom laden atmosphere there are occasional lighter and lush moments on side 1 with even a hint of dark dub bass. The lyrics, which like his artwork, lean heavily on the subconscious and occult workings, referencing the stars, moon and the celestial sphere.

The opener 'Ash Through The Aethyr' is anchored around a motorik bass groove, but it's the guitars that shimmer, around Sawyer's shrouded and curt vocal tones, with notes tumbling into the ether, aided by passages of bolstered bass. It's all sounds a bit eighties doom rock. Like young men in grey trenchcoats or grey men in trenchcoats if you know what I mean. That's more of an observation than a criticism as the four tracks of The Silver Head are really rather good. 'Pale Sphere Apparition' is much lighter in tone. Lush, rippling notes are cast against the backbone of shivery bass and drums. "I can hear a thousand angels screaming" Sawyer's utters, his measured vocal tones given a sinister edge with slight shadowy treatments. Just as 'Ash Through The Aethyr' visits an astral landscape, 'Pale Sphere Apparition' concerns itself with lunar communication touching upon concepts within the Qabalah and Crowley's Thelema. 'Lunar Madness' is rich in ritualism with Sawyer solemnly intoning references to ritual worship such as "sacred eucharist" and "raise the cup" as brittle guitar notes tinkle and shimmer, occasionally enveloped in layers of buzzing distorted drone. Unlike the other tracks the low-end bass of 'Lunar Madness' vibrates to something like dub bass tones, like a goth-tinged Metal Box era PiL but as it unfurls it, like the rest of The Silver Head, carries a trace of what's best described as post-punk shoegaze psychedelia.

The flipside features only the title track, 'The Silver Head', an expansive layered workout which best represents the "death motorik" appellation. Out of a distorted buzz drone, enters a motorik beat, from which guitars set off on a psychedelic journey, swelling into a post-rock maelstrom with patterns of ringing tones. It's expansive and elongated but rather than a blissed-out freakout, Blood Bright Star ensure things remain tight and controlled, with little room for improvisation. Like the pen work of his artwork, every note is executed with precision. The entire thing hovers around blackened shoegaze territory with Sawyer's morose occult-fixated words riding upon wave of wave of this ecstatic sunbound excursion.

On The Silver Head Blood Bright Star create an aura of bleakness, which taps into the doom sound of the eighties, with Sawyer's weaving of occult workings and the subconscious. Like the split-single with High aura'd, on The Silver Head Blood Bright Star prove they are adept at creating atmospheric sounds, but The Silver Head is a different beast. Here the doom laden sounds carry Reuben Sawyer's take on the occult to great effect. The Silver Head is released by King Of The Monster Records in an edition of 300 copies, with 150 on silver vinyl and 150 on clear with silver vinyl. For more information go to King Of The Monsters Records