Sep 7, 2012
November 3rd 2009. That’s how long I’ve waited for this record. There’s something about Bright Black Heaven that was always ominous and mysterious, the name itself evokes a sense of wonder and immediately attracts you. So much so, the name inspired me to spawn this website, with the help of my partner Skafia, and it sure has been quite the ride. This was a record we were supposed to get 2 years ago, and the anticipation has been hard to bare. Naturally, I was disappointed when we figured out the tracklist would contain mostly songs we’ve already heard as they released them along the way, but today I was in for a surprise. What surprised me the most about Bright Black Heaven is how cohesive it sounds, giving even the songs we’ve already heard new life.
Cold War, the song that always puts a smirk on everyone’s face (and spawned some memes on Tumblr). So I was a little disappointed that it was going to be the opening track over This Is, but I have now retracted those feelings. I’m not sure if it’s the clarity I can now hear, but the song to me is the perfect opening track. I totally get it now. It’s purpose is to pump you up for what’s to come, and it succeeds in that right. It could be extended a bit, sure, but Cold War is just too catchy and too fun to ignore 7/10
This was one of the few surprises on the record for me, Fade To White. Many people, including myself, wrote it off as a song we’ve already heard, but we were all wrong. Fade to White is possibly one of the danciest songs on the record, and it’s tempo is just as fast as Snuff on Digital was. It’s packed full of energy and never let’s down, except for the bridge – which is one of my favorite parts on the album. Fade to White succeeds in giving you that urge to dance 8/10
Oh, don’t you know, that this song is way too catchy. Faith Healer, the first single off of Bright Black Heaven, falls short of Stiff Kittens as far as singles go, but is still worth a listen. The song’s pacing feels awkward at parts during the verses, the chorus is the only saving grace of the song. I can understand why it was chosen as a single because of that, but the song doesn’t deliver the complete package unfortunately. 7/10
Deconstructing Gods is not only one of the most unique songs Blaqk Audio has ever made, but also one of my favorite. It starts off haunting and eerie almost, as Davey name drops the song’s title as the first line. My favorite part of the song are the verses, the buildup to the chorus is so intense and perfectly timed, along with the drums (more drums in Blaqk Audio songs please). The chorus is powerful and hammers it home. Deconstructing Gods will be remembered for sure, I feel like it will easily become a fan favorite 9/10
The first modern dance song by Blaqk Audio, as Jade describes it, is Everybody’s Friends (or is it Everyone’s Friends? I still don’t know). The instrumental is definitely one of the more unique things Jade has put out, and dance it is. The two dance songs on this record – Everybody’s Friends and Say Red – sort of remind me of the On A Friday vs Again, Again, and Again arguments that took place during CexCells, and I think people will have a hard time choosing which song they like more. For me, I feel Everybody’s Friends falls short a little during the verses, which seem awkward in terms of lyrics and the way it’s paced. So if anything, this song was truly one of Jade’s shining moments, but it was brought down a little by the vocal track 8/10
Let’s Be Honest is the crowning moment of Bright Black Heaven. There is never a dull moment in this song from start to finish, and is contains my favorite chorus off the record. I just love when Davey gets into his higher register, it’s always such a treat, so I may be a little biased towards any song he does that in. Another thing I like about Let’s Be Honest is that the bridge doesn’t feel forced (like BAM here it is), which is a problem in a lot of these songs. This song to me is the perfect Blaqk Audio song 10/10
With Your Arms Around You is another song where Jade shines through. The production is just amazing and contains so many elements. The only problem I have with this song is that it’s not very memorable, it doesn’t really have a hook or something that will bring you back for repeat listens. But the final chorus is really nice, and the latter half of the song is superb 7/10
Bliss was much needed on this record so we can get a temporary break from this dance orgasm. It’s slower and dark, but also very simple and cohesive. And it makes me crave and wish there were more songs like it on here, such as Down Here. It’s catchy thanks to the chorus, which is just awesome by the way because of this part, You can never touch. I feel as if Bliss is really just a classic Blaqk Audio song, because it sounds like it could of came from CexCells, but it also showcases their experimental nature. 9/10
Speaking of “classic Blaqk Audio songs”, there’s Bon Voyeurs, ripped straight from CexCells (I think they used the same synths for this track). I like this song, but compared to the rest of the album it feels weak and just sounds too familiar. It is catchy at times, but mostly Bon Voyeurs will fail to capture your attention as almost the entire song sounds like it’s one flat note. Nonetheless, I feel like it will be a fun song live, where Davey can put a better spin on it 7/10
I’m not sure if it’s flashbacks of that image of Taylor Lautner, but something about The Witness to me is very off putting. The synths in the verses are kinda annoying, but the song does get better as it approaches the chorus, which references the album title at one part. I don’t really have much else to say about this song, it just isn’t that exciting to me 6/10
Right away, Say Red hooks you with the melody Jade has created here. It truly is a rave song, it reminds me of something off of Dance Dance Revolution. Jade once again makes perfect use of the piano, which is found in many of Blaqk Audio’s work. Davey gets poetic in the chorus (and I know I’ve said this many times now, but it is one of the catchiest choruses on the record), which includes my favorite line from the album: Now let this party start, put modern back in art 9/10
Ill Lit Ships was the first song that was ever heard off of Bright Black Heaven, way back in early 2010. I feel like it is a good closer to the album, even if it being placed next to one of the danciest songs off the record was a little polarizing. Ill Lit Ships, which by my guess tells the story of a prostitute, is haunting from the start. It does a good job of keeping you interested in the song as well, wanting to know what will come next. I found it disappointing though that it’s literally identical to the version they posted on their Soundcloud a year or so back, I would of liked to see some more stuff added to the verses. The song feels bare, but that may be the point of it; it’s atmospheric and I can’t help but be reminded of Cities of Night 8/10
In closing, Bright Black Heaven exceeded my expectations, which were lowered due to the tracklist and album art. It’s main accomplishment is that it shows Blaqk Audio can create a great dance tune, right up there with the big names of today. I would of still liked to see some slower tracks though to add a little more balance, ones such as Down Here or Afterdark which have already been released. Bright Black Heaven should be a memorable record for anyone who is a fan of the group or electronica in general, and will definitely keep our appetite satisfied for what’s to come.
It’s finally here! I joined this site shortly after it began and it has been quite a journey! I will admit there were some days where I felt this day would never come, but the staff here kept the spirit alive and it was worth it!
Cold War – I was apprehensive about this being the first track on the album, but it fits quite well. The slow progression from Davey’s soft lyrics into a drum heavy beat captures the album’s feel and intensity. Davey’s emotion is showcased beautifully with every word expressing a longing desire for revenge. “In my pretty fantasy, I’m running at you with a gun in my hand” shows Davey’s brilliant ability to have macabre lyrics without coming off as vulgar that made many fans fall in love with his lyrics in the first place. Although the song was fairly short, it leads into the next song wonderfully. 6/10
Fade to White – After hearing this song live, I fell in love with it. Hearing the studio version makes me enjoy it even more. The lyrics are a bit average and repetitive, but Jade’s programming makes up for it. The continuous “Deny that you’ve ever known. I’m not going to give the end away” gets old after awhile, although Ben Grey’s backing vocals are a nice finishing touch. 8/10
Faith Healer – This is the first single off the album and it is clear why. The song begins with a simple bass beat and evolves into a pulsating stomp sure to get anyone dancing. Suddenly, Davey chimes in with dark lyrics and an anthemic chorus you won’t forget. Although Davey’s vocals seem to be not up to par with Jade’s programming and the disconnect is noticeable, it is a great choice for a single. – 8/10
Deconstructing Gods – The slow beginning of this is rather haunting, setting the vibe for the song and Davey’s lyrics shine on this track compared to others. The chorus is one of the catchiest on the album. The song is similar to “Cities of Night” with the dark atmospheric tones facilitated by Jade coupled with Davey’s moody lyrics about heartache. 8/10
Everybody’s Friends – After hearing this song repeatedly live, it became one of my favorite songs of the BBH era. The sexually charged song is reminiscent of “Where Would You Like Them Left?” Davey’s lyrics are impressive, singing, “We can be so discrete, living fiction.” It is one of the most club-ready songs Blaqk Audio has ever done. – 7/10
Let’s Be Honest – This song is my favorite on the record. Davey tells a dark, sadistic story while showcasing his full vocal range that fans have grown to adore. Jade displays his true talent with various synths and subtle homages to Depeche Mode and Skinny Puppy. The one song you must download off the album. – 10/10
With Your Arms Around You – Jade once again shines in programming with Davey’s lyrics taking the backseat on this track. This song is one of the slower songs on the record making it not very memorable, unfortunately. “Someone from somewhere can show you how to care. When no one will join you, you must dance alone” is a boring, weak chorus in my opinion, but it is still a solid filler track. – 5/10
Bliss – The slowest song on the record is needed to drown out the excessive club beats in the first half of the track list. Davey’s lyrics about giving into sexual desires is a direct homage to CexCells’ theme and their roots. The standout line “give into the sweet persistence, this is only the beginning. I would gladly give myself with no resistance were the moment never-ending” is the classic Blaqk Audio fans know and love. – 8/10
Bon Voyeurs – If you were to find a song that was most similar to CexCells on BBH, it would be this song. The synths are similar to the previous record, the topic of sex and lust is evident and Davey’s voice is very flat with not much fluctuation. Not very memorable. – 6/10
The Witness – The song has a very Depeche Mode feel and is my least favorite of the album. Despite it getting exposure in the movie Abduction, the song is basic and boring to me with no real standout part. I would have rather had Afterdark in its place. Plus, whenever I listen to the song I envision Taylor Lautner running in the rain chasing a girl. – 7/10
Say Red – A rave song worthy of being on Just Dance 3, Say Red grips the listener and doesn’t let go. Davey shows true lyrical talent in the verses and Jade showcases his piano skills. The song has always been a crowd-pleaser at Blaqk Audio shows and will continue to be a standout. – 9/10
Ill-Lit Ships – As Drew stated, I would have wished the song was edited a bit like other previous songs we heard. The song is an excellent closing track, bringing the album full circle with a dark beginning and end. The atmospheric tone and haunting vocals encompasses Bright Black Heaven to a t. 7/10
Overall, Bright Black Heaven was worth the wait and showcased Davey and Jade’s ability to progress both musically and lyrically. Combining dance tracks and eerie, dark songs provided to be a good formula. Bright Black Heaven is dark, haunting and melodic and fully embraces the listener in the scenery the band aimed to create.