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Blank Spell - Miasma LP

Blank Spell - Miasma LP

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There are very few bands from any musical era or milieu whose sound and approach seemingly came out of the blue and for me, hearing the music of Blank Spell was like an apparition that suddenly appeared out of nowhere. You can ffo them with the outsider spectrum of unhinged early 80s hardcore outfits such as Void, Die Krezuen, Italian HC, Feederz etc, but even at that, trying to apply descriptors such as hardcore, no wave/noiserock, darkwave/goth or whatever just does not even come close. Blank Spell has this Captain Beefheart effect where upon repeated listenings I pick up new things everytime I listen that hadnt heard before. However, this is not colliding instrumentation bouncing off each other as much as lacerating, jolting sonic, rythymic and vocal blasts and bursts coming at you from all sides that is neither linear, angular or circular, the effect is like being attacked by a swarm of mutant locusts or dodging sparks shooting out of a downed power line. As chaotic is this all sounds, I find Blank Spell music as being neither random or spastic, their music and vocals are stark and deliberately crafted with everything exactly in its place. Unnerving and unsettling music for unsettling times. -Chuck Meehan

Our take: After a handful of tapes and a 7”, Philadelphia’s Blank Spell hits us with their first big vinyl, and man is it a stunner! I think that my favorite thing about Blank Spell is the fact that you can’t really pin down their music to a certain genre. Blank Spell somehow bring together the creepy punk vibes of bands like 45 Grave or early Christian Death with much faster, tougher-sounding hardcore without losing what makes either genre great. The riffs and song structures can be, at times, almost dizzyingly complex, but the singularity of the vibe that Blank Spell creates across these tracks holds it all together and makes it sound unified and composed. The chorus-drenched guitars (something I usually hate, but not here) and herky-jerky rhythms make me think of Davidians and Warm Bodies, but Blank Spell have neither the cold artsiness of the former nor the loose and earthy quality of the latter, instead landing on a kind of confident propulsion that reminds me of well-oiled hardcore bands like Exit Order or Blackball, bands that seem to march relentlessly forward rather than side-stepping or zig-zagging. I know that this is all very vague and I’m getting a real (and, alas, unfortunate) “dancing about architecture” vibe from this description, but the point is that Blank Spell have created a really powerful and singular record, and one that seems destined to become a staple of my summer 2017 playlist. Highly recommended.