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With a monstrous 6 year hiatus between Bliss53‘s last release and their newest offering ‘12 Days After Youth,’ the group’s fans likely had a lot of questions leading up to the return of one of the last grunge rock bands.
The biggest question of course lies within their sound. While Bliss53 released it’s first independent demo back in 2004 with grunge rock fury, does that same sound have the staying power almost 10 years later? The answer is a resounding ‘yes.’ ’12 Days After Youth’ settles in nicely, picking up right where the band left off so many years ago and taking a huge step forward. ’12 Days After Youth’ displays the familiar Bliss53 sound without getting too caught up in nostalgia, something that can often handcuff bands trying to rise up from the ashes of their past.
The band, sounding revitalized and a sense of renewal with this disc, see their reunion as more of a rebirth rather than a comeback, Singer and guitarist Kevin Batres is the only original member. On this album Cole Donelan is on drums and Jay Weiner on bass. Wither it’s the new members or just time, the creative inspiration fueling ’12 Days After Youth’ can be felt from start to end. The core sound of the band is the same old fans will remember about the band – Kevin’s voice, loud feedback and wild guitar riff’s – the band’s evolution is very much on display, as the drums provided a sonic power that’s impeccably complemented by a heavy bass rhythm section that seemed to have been missing before.
The first song ‘Hemophiliac’ serves as a battle cry for the rest of the album. For older Bliss53 fans they might remember this song played at clubs but never released. However it never did sound so good.
With the bands previous work being more of a collaboration, the new album was written by Kevin, from guitar, bass, drums to strings. The end result seems to be a sonic terrain from the explosive drums that fuel ‘Strange Basement’ to the punk rock guitar on ‘Paranoid Alien.’ The haunting lingering vibe left by the delicate ‘Dear Child.’ ‘Distant Friend’ is arguably one of the disc’s best offerings, followed by the visual soundscape painted by ‘Paper Airplanes.’ ‘12 Days After Youth’ offers up an unmistakable grunge sound brought into the 21st century.
In music, it’s sometimes difficult to stand the test of time but Bliss53 prove with ‘12 Days After Youth’ that they did not reassemble simply to go back to the club days fans might remember them from but to build a legacy.