Back in 2018 I shared a stream of the Black Helium debut album (Primitive Fuck) on this very site. I described the UK psych rockers as invoking Detroit proto-punk, late ’60s downer rock, and Sabbathian fuzz. When the band released The Wholly Other in 2020, I shared their heaviest track (“Two Masters”). I said the track “crawls from doom metal’s primordial ooze and should appeal immediately to fans of Electric Wizard’s black-mass distortion.” To this day, that song remains one of my favorite stoner/doom tracks of the 21st century. Now Black Helium returns with their third LP, simply entitled UM. Today I go for the threepeat by sharing the album’s opening track, “Another Heaven.”
While Black Helium shares stylistic sensibilities with space rock, there’s a grit and heft in their sound that anchors them to earth. “Another Heaven” embodies that dichotomy perfectly. The song’s hypnotic journey lasts nearly a dozen minutes, but this isn’t a song that chews on a riff until it loses all flavor. The track’s first half feels like a hashish hymn, replete with acoustic strums. But the song soon turns on the ominous thunder of Beck Harvey’s bass. UM was recorded by Wayne Adams (Big Lad, Pet Brick) at Bear Bites Horse Studio, who nailed Black Helium’s balance of textures. In fact, the band specifically mentions their eclectic sound when discussing their single selection.
“UM is bookended by two of our longest, and most “out there” tracks,” Black Helium shares in a statement. “Both songs were written intensely and quickly, given the length and the fact that there are so many twists and turns.
“We thought “Another Heaven” would be a great way to start the album as it’s a sort of continuation from the other two former LPs. We wanted to give the listener a proper ride, as the track goes from frenetic mania, to blissed-out stoned bliss, to crushing K-hole doom”
Riot Season Records release UM on March 3rd. Ascend to “Another Heaven” and press play below.