Black Helium – UM

Find peace, find hope, find contentment, find meaning. Purpose. Wake up and smell the coffee, blitz through the drivel, squash the humdrum, own it, collapse, recalibrate. Cry yourself to sleep. Find peace. Overcome, overpower, never submit to the grind, never prosper, never flourish, repeat until your eyes refuse to open, overworked. Amidst the relenting cacophony, even joyous minutiae bring more comfort than the Sisyphean dilemma desires to serve. The joys of physical disassociation – to relinquish the burden of monumental disenfranchisement – slip through the fingers of those permanently chained to the concrete foundations of the real. Some turn to drugs, others to religion; some will dabble in both, and many accept defeat. Black Helium, always poised to fry perception into hyperdrive, offer a much more lucrative solution than psychedelics and God; yet on UM, both are never far from reach…   

…but it was not always this way. 2020’s The Wholly Other, Black Helium’s calamitous cerebral usurper, laid siege to a fragile mortality already overdosed with anxiety and polluted it further with its own sinister cocktail of lysergic arsenic and cellular destruction. What that record was for psychical destruction, UM is the tuning to an elevated mode of consciousness, a tab of undulating ecstasy left behind in the aftermath of such devastation activated by the drop of the needle onto wax. At once urgent and unmistakably potent, UM radiates with a bioluminescent glow oscillating from where your brain once flourished, the warmth it ushers in tingles, leaving the hair on your arms, on the back of your neck, on end – the slightest movement of air sends shockwaves back to this organism which, in return, pulsates them straight back. All physical matter dissolves, recalibrated and reconfigured until the beginning and the end of what separates us from the ether bears no semblance to the reality the music tunes us out from.

This is an unending symbiosis, as euphoric and psychotropic as the music unfolding within is fluvial and electrifying. From the moment this mantric concoction kicks in so too does the sensory overload, its rushing elation endless as Another Heaven fires up the synapses, tweaking them to those frequencies destined for cognitive regeneration; though it mellows out somewhat in time for the revelatory liveliness I Saw God channels the airwaves it surges forth on refuse to ease their heady overdrive. What follows is an inescapable high, a swelling exhilaration which the record is not in pursuit of but is wholly responsible for; eventually giving in to Summer of Hair’s hurtling toward nirvana before The Keys to Red Skeleton’s House’s colossus implodes upon infinity, UM takes total separation from mind and body to interdimensional new levels.

A voyage with no preordained destination, more a rapturous state of terminal departure from all that is toxic, UM rebuilds what Primitive Fuck and The Wholly Other had such maniacal glee in demolishing and deteriorating. In their stimulating reach for a sense of home, of purpose, and of inner peace, Black Helium bypass the duplicitous bamboozlement of organised religion and find a godlike euphoria, committing its exuberance onto wax with shamanic intuition. Their third record is as extravagant as it is deeply meditative, a passage to the other side the powers that be prohibit any of us from entering: a sustaining realm of contemplation and pure contentment.

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