Dreary and certainly worthy of note
Strength’s gloom is present throughout the entire album, but its manifestation is always different. It opens with “Inp,” where singer John Galm’s soft vocals are strung out over a gentle, ambient guitar. This is followed by the loud and fuzzy “almost.” The variety is the project’s principles strength, the loud-quiet dynamic sitting at the forefront of the album. Even before any attempt to analyze the lyrics, there is always an abstract feeling you can gather from each track; the instrumentation is a fine accessory to the mood. At times, though, the production leaves something to be desired; the distortion on songs like “Gold” and “Strength” is clunky and overtakes the track. The former track is then sort of directionless. Other songs, like the seventh track “New Boy,” are good, but too short.
The album’s highpoint comes with “Stick Around,” which straddles the line between evoking nostalgia and melancholy over it’s two and a half minutes. That latter trait is one present throughout the whole project, and whilst that certainly makes for a very sober, gloomy album, Bad Heaven Ltd. has written and structured the album so well so that its dreary theme never becomes obnoxious or overwhelming. It doesn’t come at the expense of authenticity, either. Indeed, the token tropes which frequently plague ‘sad’ projects are absent this one, which makes its tone feel all the more real; there’s nothing inhibiting a connection between the listener and artist. Regardless of any other criticism, one may have, that an artist hasn’t cultivated some superficial persona is always worthy of praise. That this album isn’t slight then allows for an appreciation of the project.
Bad Heaven Ltd. has delivered a stellar product, an emotive work that appeals to the listener’s rawest sentiments. And whilst certain songs are definitely shaky, it’s just as well a collection of solid, catchy numbers with strong songwriting, which, in a way, could be thought of as subtle mechanism for Strength to communicate it’s emotive qualities to the listener. In retrospect, a great project, suffering only from a handful of details as most do, and a project that’s certainly worth listening to.