The Blissful Joy Of Living is an album where there’s no room for any subtleties. Guitars are shredded, shredded louder and then some more for good measure. Whole walls of guitars, like a house totally overgrown by vines, leaving only true space for the singer's voice, like the windows that are cut open in between the vine in order to look out. Somewhere in the background there is a drummer going about his business. In fact it could be a drum machine for all I care. Listening closer, I have a hard time identifying between the two options. In the last song it is even 100%, I'd say. What is a fact, is that drummer Sven Engelsman up to a certain point can do whatever he likes. The guitars played by Martijn Tevel shred away anyway. The bass is another issue as the instrument hovers somewhere in between. Sometimes part of the rhythm, sometimes just laying down some accents which the guitars and drums do not make of finally contributing to the noise some more.
So in short, anyone who “lives” through the first two songs will get to the end. In a minute or 20 all six songs have played themselves out in a blistering storm of music. But pay attention now. You’ll find a surprise in the form of ‘Sick Girl’, a song that almost plays out like a “regular” indierock song.
What keeps hanging in my mind, revolving there over and over, is the impression The Blissful Joy Of Living as an angry album. Yet I truly doubt if it is. There certainly is aggression in the playing in the way the songs/buildings are attacked. This is not the same as anger though. The Sweet Relief of Death does not play music from a blind rage. In fact I have the impression the six songs on the album are well thought out. The little light that is allowed into the album in ‘Sick Girl’ and a part of ‘Hey’ show just that. What remains is the sweltering heat of an intense band. The Blissful Joy of Living proves to exactly be the right frame of mind to keep the relief found in the band's name at bay for a while longer. Life's too much fun with surprising albums like this.
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