Mumdance and James Kelly mine the middle ground between shoegaze and black metal.
Shoegaze and black metal are more connected they might seem—there's even a subgenre called blackgaze, pioneered by Alcest and perfected by bands like Deafheaven and Harakiri For The Sky. You can hear blackgaze in the triumphant swells that Kelly and Adams whip up on tracks like "Surge" and "Floodlight." The wall of sound is noisy but the chord progressions are uplifting, the thwack of the drum machine propulsive.
Though guitars are the loudest and most central element on Bliss Signal, they rarely sound like guitars. On the title track, the serrated chords sublimate into fog, snare rolls sounding off in the distance. There are metal riffs in "Floodlight," but they don't last long. Only on "Tranq" do the duo truly harness the power of black metal, with mechanistic blast-beats building up to a claustrophobic commotion.
At 30 minutes, Bliss Signal is a brief album, but any longer and the impact of its meteor-strike flashes would be dulled. In fact, it probably could have been even shorter (the unremarkable "Endless Rush" slows down the second half of the LP). Before the release of this self-titled album, the duo released a three-track EP called Drift that worked better, especially "4 AM Drift," a track that exemplifies the furious energy of blackgaze. But fans of heavy electronic music, be it from Shapednoise, JK Flesh or Ben Frost, will find a lot to like in Bliss Signal, a contained explosion of an album that keeps its extremes constantly in balance.