Black Salvation – Uncertainty is Bliss (Relapse)

Monday, 23rd April 2018
Rating: 7/10

Really catching the retro rock wave as it washes ashore, German power trio Black Salvation features former In Solitude/Grave Pleasures drummer Uno Bruniusson in the ranks, along with guitarist/vocalist Paul Schlesier and bassist Birger Schwidop. Bruniusson’s inclusion alone will at least get some folks-a-talking, if only because In Solitude was such a hot commodity during their all-too-brief existence. On their second full-length and Relapse debut Uncertainty is Bliss, the Germans lean heavy on the psych, which is ultimately where the line is drawn between them and say, Graveyard or Blues Pills.

With no real pop-leanings to their sound, Black Salvation have a darker, more gnarled sound, perhaps because Schleiser’s guitar tone is jangled and mashed, to put it mildly. Therefore, there’s no smoothing over the band’s rocked-out moments; it’s almost garage rock gone psych, passing quasi-metal along the way. And since Schleiser is less of a fire-breathing, soulful vocalist and more of a croon-in-key type of guy, songs like opener “In a Casket’s Ride” and lead single “Breathing Hands” are furrowed stabs of retro rock, not exactly inviting in the good times.

While the rollicking “Leair” may pick and work with the likes of Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, the nine-minute “A Direction is Futile” (check out the jungle beats) and closer “Getting Lost Slowly” is Black Salvation at their most exploratory, with Bruniusson and Schwidop piecing together a free-form rhythm section that holds the blues and near-punk together.

Essentially free from the shackles of common hard rock and metal, Black Salvation’s dark fashioning of psych rock is every bit the trip it’s intended to be. Somewhere along the way, they left the engaging songs at the door, however.

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