BLESS THIS MESS from their official Twitter

I walked into this album with high expectations, mainly because of how utterly beautiful this band’s name is, and how much it sounds like an incantation one whispers after looking in the mirror, slipshod and lopsided, before heading off to greet the day at half-steam. But, with this album, while “mess” is a bit strong, the idea of things being strewn about, the observer gleaning a semblance of how cool things could be if cleaned up, comes to mind.

Cover art for Hymn from BLESS THIS MESS's OHP
1. Hymn
2. 赫蝕
3. barbarism
4. 16
5. Mr.Human error
6. 炯眼、人を射る
7. slumber

For those unacquainted with BLESS THIS MESS, the band has a sound minimal on screams, growls, and features one distinct lead guitar track; as a whole, the band’s sound is often clearer and less distorted than many more ‘metal’ visual-kei counterparts. This noted, the band’s sound is often atmospheric, trading powerful choruses with airy bridges and at times a sort of menacing build-up, such as in the second track. Whatever can be said for how much the band might still need to develop, their songs, while often structured similarly, are themselves not structurally boring. While there is somewhat of a cumulative effect of the familiar sounds by the final track, the tracks taken on their own aren’t expressly predictable or reminiscent of a lack of effort.

But, to stick with the unifying metaphor of “not quite a mess,” a song such as “Mr.Human error” features promising moments jetting out from the rather similar sounding verses and choruses. Specifically, by the time one reaches the track, the dominating vocals, maybe not fully predictable (but close to it) riffs, and light rhythm section have settled to form a set of expectations for the listener. Yet, there is an interesting guitar solo on this track, which at once signals the talent that is being, at times, washed out by some compositions that become akin to one another. Similarly, the next track features a pause, screams, and breakdown that goes beyond what one has come to expect from Hymn.

Yet perhaps the ultimate tease of what BLESS THIS MESS has to offer us on future outings is the final track “slumber.” Featuring the best usage of vocalist Yanagi’s vibrato, the slower song is sorrowful, yet picks up at the chorus. Distributing the echoing, clean guitars into the verses to balance out overdriven choruses, and giving both the bass and drums more clarity in the mix, the track comes as a very welcome end to the album, and sort of a promise of what is to come with the band’s first full album, Xiall Rain, due in December.

Overall, BLESS THIS MESS’s first outing is not really a mess per se, but it does show various things scattered about that need to be gathered together. And whereas not all tracks show bear witness to it, the final track “slumber” as well as “16” show what the band is capable of when putting together various elements of their sound. 

Key tracks: “16,” “Mr.Human error,” “slumber”

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