Album Reviews

Album Review: Black Sky Research – One

Release Date: 27/11/2020

Record Label: Unsigned

For Fans Of: Mallory Knox, Boston Manor, This Is Menace

We’re intercepting a transmission here at Mind Noise Network; it’s a message telling of an apocalyptic event spanning one fateful night in London, and we’re invited to immerse ourselves in the experience. Black Sky Research present One, a debut EP that signifies their arrival with an unforgiving bang, an atmospheric crash, and a relentless energy. Drawing musical influences from the world of rock, punk and industrial within their line-up, the band features former Mallory Knox vocalist Mikey Chapman, as well as former Snuff and This Is Menace bassist Lee Erinmez. Such a plethora of musical experience and backgrounds in the band mean that boundaries and constraints are abandoned as the four-piece aim to create a record like no other.

Reviewing rule #101 is to avoid simply working through a release in order of tracklisting, however, this powerful chronological concept EP plays by its own rules and should be reviewed in a similar manner. The night begins with the dynamic and outright flawless ‘Light Up The Sky’ which chronicles an explosion from the victim’s point of view. The song is anthemic and enormous in its sound, and quite simply it slaps. So. Damn. Hard. As opening tracks go, this is a masterclass in setting the scene and precedent. The next track allows us an insight into the motives of the perpetrator, in the form of a gritty, hard-hitting track called ‘Midnight’. It simmers away with venomous undertones but never reaches boiling point, which is by no means a negative and in fact creates an effective unhinged element to the atmosphere of the track.

Black Sky Research hit it out of the park with the next stop on our journey through One, the delightful ‘Twilight’. This part of the story sees the survivors reflecting on the events that have unfolded. Its gentle opening feels akin to an out of body experience, like a shock setting in, but we’re soon hit by an explosion of sensations as a remarkable and heart-pounding chorus kicks in. There’s a pensive and introspective mood looming over the track, shrouding it in a cloud of numb emotion.‘Transmit’ introduces us to our protagonist, trapped underground and attempting to communicate with their loved one. The track is an absolute belter of the highest order, perfectly balancing out the power of a gut-wrenching anthem with the sentiment of an emotive (albeit apocalyptic) love song. The chorus alone should come with a warning for those with a history of heart complications, and it is just wonderful. After finding a mysterious signal, our protagonist escapes from being underground in the track ‘Dawn’. Black Sky Research close out One with a song that empowers and invigorates, spiralling to an ominous and cinematic finale.  

Black Sky Research have created a concept album that is bold, daring and alarmingly fitting for the state of the world in this bizarre year we find ourselves living through. Its meaning is loose enough and implied cleverly to allow for each song on the record to work as a stand-alone track, but its real power comes from the seamless narrative that plays out with every listen of the record as a whole. The transmission is cutti- it’s cu- can you hear me? Over and out.

Rating: 9/10

Recommended Track: ‘Transmit’

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