Artist: Thirteen Bled Promises
Album: Heliopause Fleets
Imagine being buried alive. Trapped in a box six feet underground, suffocating as every breath you take means you’re just one breath closer to asphyxiation. The pressure is nearly palpable as the thought of your impending demise causes your heart to beast faster and your breath to quicken. This collecting pressure is much akin to Madrid-based deathcore act Thirteen Bled Promises and their debut full-length, Heliopause Fleets, a conceptual album laden with dazzling technicality and crushing brutality.
Telling the story of the Voyager 1, a NASA-commissioned space vessel and it’s botched extraterrestrial encounter, the concept behind Heliopause Fleets isn’t nearly as crucial as the manner in which the story is delivered. Saturated with unrelenting, skull-smashing brutality, the album kicks off with “Please, Keep Your Bones Inside,” a track which wastes no time in socking the listener straight in the gut. The album continues for some time at this pace, allowing the pressure to build, rapidly toggling between machine-gun speed blast beats and lighting-fast sweeps and muddy, downtuned heaviness. Each smash of the bass drum and resonating chug of every breakdown carries the album steadily towards it’s climax, as you, trapped in your pine box six feet under the Earth, scream, hoping for someone to hear you.
At this point, it isn’t long before your voice is hoarse, and your ears ache from the echoes of your own screams. Your knuckles are bloody from beating at the lid to your makeshift coffin. All the while, the pressure has been steadily building. Exasperated, you pound once more at your wooden tomb. There’s a creak, a shifting in the sediment, and the roof caves in, as tons of dirt pour through the cracked coffin and into your lungs. This moment is almost entirely analogous to “Immortal’s Tomb,” the fifth track of Heliopause Fleets. The pressure being built up throughout the first several tracks reaches its breaking point and unleashes itself in the form of nearly five minutes of relentless tech-laden brutality. A cacophony of harmonics, blast beats, chugs and sweeps await the listener as the tone of the album shifts from transient musical proficiency to an all-out, in-your-face attack of active musical brilliance.
Thirteen Bled Promises manage to create a full-length album which not only provides the listener with a solid one-off listen, but an ability to be repeated. It’s shamefully easy these days to breeze through a deathcore album and feel like deleting it after a single listen, however, with Heliopause Fleets, this isn’t the case. It’s easy for the listener to get lost in the various annals and crevices of the album listen after listen. In this manner, the only slight–and I mean slight–flaw in the album rears its head. It seems like it takes these Spanish shredders a little too long to really present just how talented they are. Once “Immortal’s Tomb” begins, the entire duration of the album is nothing short of jaw-dropping; truly a prodigal mastery of the fickle beast that is deathcore. However, the first four tracks are markedly more held back, making the familiar listener quick to skip them.
It’s been a couple months now, and while your body wasn’t recovered, there was a funeral. Your friends called it “special,” your family wept, even as they insisted it was a beautiful ceremony and they wouldn’t have changed a thing. Much like your memory, Thirteen Bled Promises create an album that will not be forgotten. Rather, Heliopause Fleets will truly live on in the playlists and scrobbles of deathcore enthusiasts across the globe, as it enters the ranks of albums by bands who have had many more years under their belts–and many more flops as well.
By Connor Welsh/Eccentricism