This is the debut album from one-man Swedish doom metal band Blissful Stream.
It seems like an age since Blissful Stream first appeared in 2016 with Ascending Demons, which impressed with its lo-fi rocky take on doom metal. The next two years saw a release every year, (Devil’s Night to All Souls – Split with Lightsabres, and Dead Religious), and then a quiet 2019. This was apparently due to the artist building up to his fist full length, which we are now lucky enough to have in 2020.
Typically for Blissful Stream releases, there’s not a lot of material here; When the Wolves Start to Circle is barely 30 minutes long, start to finish. Quality-wise, however, the album totally makes up for its lack of quantity.
Charismatic and full of personality, this is essentially a traditional doom metal style shot through with hard rock and punk elements. Each song here is catchy and memorable, and for such a short release it’s packed with hooks. It’s very moreish, and very easy to spin again and again, (especially due to the compact length).
There’s a sorrowful energy here that’s undeniable, infecting every part of the music. Although largely mournful in tone and atmosphere, other feelings are explored too, including a snarling attitude in places. A variety of different paces and moods are touched upon in the songs, and the skill of the artist behind the band is such that it allows the music to explore upbeat sections that are still suffused with gloom, despite how vibrant they can sometimes appear, rooting the music in a firm doom grounding whatever it is doing at any given time. Ultimately, Blissful Stream’s material is all about emotion, no matter the speed or pace, and the songs on this album are carefully crafted to make the most of this bedrock of feeling.
Every time I hear a Blissful Stream release I proclaim it the artist’s best work yet, and the same is true of When the Wolves Start to Circle. Don’t miss out on this underground gem.