After the preview post I did abut this single, Mishka Records contacted me about actually sending me this single, and I'm glad they did, it's time I forgot about videos for a minute and reconsider Blessure Grave based on the music alone. I learned my lesson, it's a mistake to make some kind of judgment about the band based on a directors visual decisions. His vision of Blessure Grave obviously didn't follow mine, but that's why books are better than movies.
I love the cover art, it fits perfectly, that superimposed sheet flying up supposedly appearing in front of a Victorian house. It has a creepy deceptive feel from the early days of photography when you could double expose a negative to photograph 'ghosts' and it was the craziest special effect anyone had ever seen.
'Stranger in this house', the first track on the A-Side would be enough for the single, but Mishka went to the trouble of pressing both sides at different speeds so there's two here. It's a typically great Blessure Grave style track with a rolling tom fill beat, recorded thin sounding, a hint of high end static distortion, slightly mechanical, echoing that dehumanized drum machine sound with a simple delayed chorus guitar melody on top. They don't ever rely on a lot of tricks or gimmicky effects to get this depressed sound, and that's why it works, it's going to stay classic. There's nothing to tie it to a particular technological invention.
Not relying on new sounds and then choosing to have a pretty minimal instrumentation adds to the isolation feel of the vocal delivery and lyrics. Reyna adds her vocal sparsely enough in contrast to T's layers of deep singing; she's the ghostly echo to his ceremonial chant.
The second track, 'Shadow', speeds things up and I realize I haven't ever heard them go the obvious slow tempo route to create their ominous sound, this one is bordering on punk even, it's warning a girl about lost innocence without it sounding at all cliche. They have a sincerity that comes through in all of their work I want to hear more of, I'm never disappointed at their catchy sinister sound. That's when the Cure or Joy Division are most successful for me, when they're writing fast, forceful songs about alienation and not drowning in their own droney overblown instrumentation.
The cover of Sleep's 'Dragonaut' is the one worth finding out a way to track down this single. It's not going to show up on anything else, and it's a great example of why bands do covers in the first place. To take a song like this from Sleep who became such an influence after the fact, but what sounded like groundbreaking stoner rock in '92, is heavily dated now. Blessure Grave puts their imprint all over the track, while slightly changing their own sound as well...that's the best cover, that kind of crossover. The original is reinterpreted, and re-exposed to a new generation of fans possibly who will do the research on the original track, and the current band might just hit on something new in the process. That's what's happened here. The vocals are completely different as well, they force the melody into their aesthetic, and this original epic metal translates well into their stripped down goth. Reyna and T. singing together on this one is a great direction for the original. They're both great natural vocalists anyway... I really have to see how this is performed live. They introduce a really low bass synth tone over a couple of layers of guitars, it sounded new in their sound and was a great way to solve the drone guitar sound from the original. It's a well executed cover, they really took their time with this one. It's one of those covers that's so different and interesting on it's own you would mistake it as their own.
Almost forgot to mention a friend of mine texted me the back of his rear view mirror which had this sinister inscription! Blessure Grave is all around us! Serious injury is everywhere!
Still available from insound, on black or clear pink vinyl with t-shirt.