[Review]: ‘Bloodmoon: I’ displays the sparkle and musical intrigue of Converge, Chelsea Wolfe and Stephen Brodsky!

Being the metalcore force that they have been for over three decades, Converge has always been interested in experimentation. The most emblematic release of the group, Jane doe (which came out 20 years ago), testifies to this; Going beyond the realm of hardcore song structure, Converge presented an experience that hammers and chokes with technical madness, merging vibe and ferocity into one. While innovation has remained a staple in the band’s music, their latest collaborative release is one of the strongest examples of what they are capable of creating.

Chelsea wolfe captured the attention of listeners and critics with his 2015 LP Abyss – a fascinating work of metal, noise and gothic rock – creating music that captures the surreal space of the dream. Stephen Brodsky is another musician you might have heard of, especially given his many technical contributions to incredible bands like Cave In, Mutoid Man, and Converge. Together, these three forms Blood moon: I – a breathtaking work of heaviness, frightening ambient space and intriguing mixtures of genres.

The opening title song has the frontman of Converge Jacob Bannon speaking in a low voice, a solemn touchwork playing softly below and beside him. Wolfe’s vocals lingers over the chilling tone of the track. The guitar’s minor moan and distortion suits his voice perfectly. As the instrumentation increases in intensity, the rhythm establishes a hypnotic flow. The listener may feel in a trance; the underlined rhythm of the guitar cradling them deeper, every word spoken by Bannon and Wolfe soothing. That’s until Bannon barks with his signature Converge voice. An added metallic rhythm brings a new dimension to the progression, maintaining a sense of quiet flow, but elevated and thrilling.

This kind of fluidity of instrumentation and singing allows Blood moon: I be a constant surprise throughout. There and then, listeners will encounter conventional approaches – such as “Viscera of men”, which plays much like a typical Converge track. But where a piece like this also detracts from such material is in that the instrumental presentation spans the atmospheric direction. Like a spooky goth metal band, the banging drums and booming bass give off that great theatrical presence, with the guitars fueling the almost horrific vibe.

Where we see more drastic changes, in terms of convergence, are cuts like “Reel”. While there are moments of sonic leap, there is restraint in the presentation of heavy metal. The ethereal tone is perfect for Wolfe’s voice, but overall lends itself wonderfully to any vocal contribution. The mix of genres becomes more apparent as we deepen Blood moon: I. “Moon Flower” is a grunge cut with an extra punch, while “Lord of liars” is both noise and math rock.

It’s not even the range of sounds and styles that make up the record that is impressive, but also the range of each song. Converge, Wolfe and Brodsky have created a work that is full of constant surprises. Technical and vocal twists are hard to predict, with listeners discovering beautiful nuggets of punchy and sweet emotion. Where we can possibly see Blood moon: I as a simple record that highlights some killer artists, it’s more of a fusion of those brilliant minds. Each artist not only provides his strengths, but also plays on the strengths of others. Blood moon: I isn’t just a stellar collaboration from some of heavy music’s best artists, it also makes for a great end to the year.

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