US - Illinois - Full Moon 238 - 01/24/16
Bloodiest, by name, sounds like the most blood dripping, brutal, grim and hellish band of the whole of the metal divisions. The Chicago six-(formerly seven?)-piece ensemble formed in 2008,
and they have released two albums so far: A mini called I Told My Wrath, My Wrath Did End (Nail Records 2010) and their first album proper, Descent (Relapse 2011). Bloodiest
is their second full-length, promoted by the tracks "Mesmerize" and "Suffer" which were both launched as singles in late 2015.
Relapse describe Bloodiest to be some 'cinematic, cathartic and ritualistically heavy orchestrations from Chicago's genre-bending enthusiasts'.
Bloodiest is fronted by Bruce Lamont, who leads his ensemble through a mixed, genre-bending blend of music tagged 'experimental, atmospheric metal-gaze post-punk-rock'. You'll find screaming
and riffery, as well as melodic parts and calm, fragile moments. If you wish, you will find grace and rage side by side. Bloodiest have been mentioned as a 'who's who of the Chicago music scene',
with ex-members and current members of 90 Day Men, Yakuza, Follows, Sterling, Atombombpocketknife, Russian Circles, Wrekmeister Harmonies, and others in and out of the line-up. Singer Lamont
(also a member of Yakuza and Corrections House), guitarists Tony Lazzara (former drummer) and Eric Chaleff (both of Sterling), drummer Cayce Key (of the 90 Day Men), bass player Colin DeKuiper
(ex-Russian Circles), and keyboardist Nandini Khaund. Like what Lamont has said: 'In Chicago it's really about the community, the openness, and the
opportunity to jam with a lot of different people. You can take these experiences back to your other bands and make it a stepping-off point for something new. People make fun of me for being
in all these different bands, but I wouldn't have it any other way.' (as told to Chicago Tribune).
The music of Bloodiest is at times apocalyptic and clearly inside the metal genre, while at other times they play the field of arty drone-rock experimentalism. According to their label,
they're influenced both by 'the sounds of 90s Chicago underground rock scene as well as heavy music titans like Neurosis and Swans'. Which means that they're located on the spooky side of
the rock action. "Mesmerize" opens Bloodiest, but "The Window" is quickly lining up as one cool, epic track. The slowly evolving, 8-minute-long track is dead cool and one of the highlights
of the album with its tough guitars and doom-ridden drive and energy. "Condition" appears almost like a pastorale guitar track, while "Broken Teeth" is a slow, sludgy metal piece with a dizzying,
almost 'limp' rhythm. "Mind Overlaps" is sort of an intermission type track, instrumental with some low-voiced ('spoken word in the background'), discreet mumbling rhythm. "He is Disease" is
the third longest track and a return to the primal metal vein. Yet, it's quite a different metal track, with spinning, stirring, monotonous guitar riffs which makes it something else - and
quite enjoyable. Next monstrous track out is the album's longest track, "Separation", which is also tough and cool, with its pounding rhythms and the agitated guitars floating around the wild
vocals of Lamont. The musical mixture makes me imagine something like an imaginative blend of The Birthday Party meeting the Swans, 80s noise-rock outfit Scratch Acid (or their successor,
The Jesus Lizard) meeting The Melvins. Maybe even tiny, tiny parts of Black Sabbath meeting Black Flag, with a touch of early, dirty Grunge combos such as Tad. As long as they sound as diverse
and dynamic as they do, Bloodiest keeps my attention even though I've long since left my metal years behind. At times, Bloodiest play bloody cool slush-metal rock music. Period.
Copyright © 2016 Håvard Blodøks