25 Mar 2016

Blaak Heat: "Shifting Mirrors"

Ever-changing, tumultuous psychedelic prog aiming at the stars
Blaak Heat - Formerly known as Blaak Heat Shujaa - has been through a lot of changes in the short span of their career. Originally starting out in 2008, lead singer and guitarist Thomas Bellier is now the only remaining original member, the original bassist Antoine Morel-Vulliez and original drummer Timothée Gacon being replaced in 2014 and 2012 respectively. In a way the shortening of the band name reflects these changes, and ushers in a new era of blackened heat from the French-American trio.

Both the albums and the EP released under their former moniker garnered positive response from casual and hardcore listeners alike. In that way Blaak Heat carries on the tradition of great songwriting. The sort of Middle-Eastern and North African fluctuations found within the ever-changing currents on Shifting Mirrors is a breath of fresh air that gives life to a new dimension of the group's music. The foreignly progressive melodies laid on top of the droning guitars combined with Bellier's staccato singing in songs like The Approach to Al-Mu'tasim has the power to immerse and teleport you to strangely spiritual places that at the same time feel both alien and familiar.

"...the new album feels like a natural advancement in the same way that The Edge of An Era from 2013 did to 2010's Blaak Heat Shujaa debut."

Shifting Mirrors is undoubtedly Blaak Heat's most ambitious feat to date. The progressive edge has always felt more or less present in the ensemble's compositions, but now moreso than ever before. Progressing through their entire career up to this point, the new album feels like a natural advancement in the same way that The Edge of An Era from 2013 did to 2010's Blaak Heat Shuuja debut. Mike Amster's drumming has severely bolstered the grandiose scope of the arrangements, and the addition of Henry Evans on bass has in the same way boosted the already exceptionally fulfilling rhythm section.

Through long weirdly out-of-time passages, mind-bending psychedelic instrumentals and several hints of classic 70s hard rock Shifting Mirrors is as varying as it is ambitious. With the trio frequently plunging themselves energetically into deeper and deeper waters Thomas Bellier's third album is an ever-evolving psychedelic prog piece that can easily hold its own against classics and newcomers alike. So let yourself be sucked into Blaak Heat's psychedelic wormhole and be transported to foreign lands.


To be released April 15th 2016 by Svart Records (EU) // May 13th 2016 by Tee Pee Records (US)


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