Given the uncompromising starkness of their moniker, which makes any kind of internet research on them an exercise in frustration, it’s fairly safe to assume that Syracuse, NY quartet Bleak isn’t here to make friends and win fans. According to their FB page (which can be found with effort) “The only thing we hate more than ourselves is you” and after giving their debut, self-titled EP (Blasphemour) a listen, you’d be hard pressed to disagree.
Playing a hard-hitting form of groove metal that rarely gets above mid-pace, the band also draw elements from sludge and hardcore to produce a sound that will knock you on your arse. Quite simply, wimps and poseurs need not apply. Kicking things off with the savage groove of ‘Bridge Burner’ which roils and pummels like Vision of Disorder if someone had murdered their families, the band proceed to inflict a serious of devastating body blows over the course of eighteen punishing minutes. However, they’re not afraid to take risks, as the harrowing dark ambient of second track ‘Resplendent Repression’ emphatically proves.
The short, sharp shock of ‘Simple’ employs skittish mathcore anti-melodies amid its lurching chugs, coming across like a looser Ion Dissonance while the crushing beatdowns and feral roars of ‘Outflanked’ is some of the nastiest hardcore you are ever likely to hear.
What Bleak do isn’t big or clever and it certainly isn’t that original, but their uncompromising nihilistic approach and straightforward, bloody-minded aggression is refreshingly honest. They sound like they would beat you to within an inch of your life for no reason and in a scene full of chancers who like to talk big, Bleak are well primed to make a name for themselves.