The Outpost by BlueneckRelease date: November 25, 2016
Label: Denovali Records
It’s hard to find the right words to describe the new album by Blueneck except to say that it’s beyond beautiful. I’ve been waiting so long for the new album there’s a risk I might overuse the word ‘love’. I’ll try not to, but keep in mind that I do love Blueneck. The first time I heard King Nine I didn’t know what to think about it: I missed the amazing crescendos of The Fallen Host but slowly the new album started growing on me and its electronic and synthesized elements mixed with the melancholic notes made it a must for my nighttime listening.
With The Outpost the experienced North Somerset band surpass expectations and mark another evolutionary step. With 8 tracks clocking in at a total of 48 minutes the new album merges electronic beats, powerful guitar riffs, brooding strings and progressive elements. It manages to be delicate and heavy at the same time and switches from cataclysmic to melodic sounds in a heartbeat – just consider the passage from the opening ‘From Beyond’ to the following ‘Ghosts’, explosively busy one moment, somber and melodic the next .
‘From Beyond’ starts slow and recalls the familiar Blueneck style especially thanks to the comforting and graceful voice of Duncan. The wide range of soundscapes this song covers is impressive, but it’s towards the end that the track changes and will leave you speechless: when you are completely overwhelmed by the relentless crescendo combined with the synths making you feel as though in a locked room that’s about to explode and the melody of ‘Ghosts’ arrives unexpectedly, it wraps itself around you and it’s so beautiful that it will hurt the most sensitive souls.
After 10 minutes you realize that Blueneck are back and, again, what makes them so unique is the incredible range of instruments and sounds they put in place in every piece of music they write and the emotions they manage to transmit through it. Written and recorded over just 18 months, the album was originally conceived as a separate project by singer-songwriter Duncan Attwood and guitarist Rich Sadler, but in the end they developed it under the Blueneck banner.
Throughout the 8 movements of The Outpost the voice of Duncan is the additional instrument that gives depth to the overall composition. Pay attention to ‘Hypnos’ at the 3:48 mark and you can experience just how much delicacy and power he gives to the song. The outcome is music so dense you can almost touch it. Just a few seconds later and the track forays into a gorgeous instrumental and elemental crescendo that’s brilliantly executed. Fragile and heartbreaking, ‘Rats in the Wall’ is one of my favorite moments from The Outpost. The intimacy and delicacy of this song is quite unique and at the same time the crashing drums in the background add variation and give it power. Played at hypnotically slow tempos, ‘Hive’ is another highlight of the album that demonstrates how much Blueneck continue to experiment. It’s a powerful piece of music where the band’s typical melodic sound is joined by subdued and atmospheric synths proceeding slowly and passing through sensual guitar tones before dissolving in a brilliant build-up that recalls the electronic music of the 80s, conjuring a Stranger Things kind of atmosphere.
With its multitude of sounds The Outpost is a pretty amazing album that positions Blueneck as one of the most interesting bands around. Whatever you are doing, wherever you are, allow yourself to truly feel this record. You won’t be disappointed.
Blueneck, I salute you.