Blood Freak: Mindscraper

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Blood Freak: Mindscraper
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Blood Freak: Mindscraper
Death Metal, Grindcore
Willowtip Records
April 5th, 2011
Release length: 44:55
Myspace
Website
Blood Freak is a Death Metal and Grindcore based band that formed in Portland, Oregon. One look at the band’s artwork and logo will immediately will give off a Horror film-vibe, to which the music captures nicely. Mindscraper is the fourth release from the band, and the group continues to push that Horror-theme with their music, having a clear inspiration from films of the seventies and eighties, from traditional Horror to exploitation flicks, all with a dark and gruesome sense of humor that one might have when tackling the Death Metal realms.

And that just puts a lot of hope towards this full-length release. Blood Freak is traditionally met with plenty of positive remarks, and Mindscraper is no exception to that rule. The album starts off with an oddly catchy Electronic/Industrial-like track that has the drums sounding more technical against an ambient musical setting with various clips from various Horror movies, both obvious and obscura, playing along and setting the tone for the album, basically becoming a song in itself, after a brief while solely focusing on the title of the track: “Psychoplasmics”. Once the song is done, “Merchants of Sleaze” hammers right in with pounding Death Metal at a Grindcore pace. The speed and intensity of the song really stand out against the heavy raw production quality that causes the music to sound thick and muddied, but matching the era-based Horror concept of the band’s lyrics, and even sometimes their music, naturally.

The general vibe of the album is just a general mixture of Death Metal and Grindcore, nothing all that special or new to the mix that Napalm Death hadn’t already done. However, that thick production does make it sound a little more unique. There are some times where the album does manage to kind of step out of the shadow of the many other similar bands of this style, such as the more exploitation flick-sounding start of the title track, “Mindscraper”, which gives off a bit of a surf vibe before going into a heavier sound that comes off more like something zombie-related. This appears in a couple other songs too, such as the guitar solo of “Sex Trash Princess”, but the solo sounds so empty it’s insane. One would say it makes no sense considering that the group is a four piece, but this album was actually due out through Razorback Records back in 2008, so chances are good that second guitarist wasn’t involoved with this recording to fill the void. Of course, this isn’t the only time it happens either, as other tracks like “Death Trip…In the Drug Den of the Damned” has a solo that is clearly open, and due to that, the song actually changes the atmosphere completely during the solo, and simply feels more like a Hardcore track then anything else.

Despite the open guitar solos, the music here is still great. There’s enough of a difference between the songs that they do tend to stand out as their own, but after a while the songs do start to sound a rather similar as you go through the release. This is largely in part of the heavy distortion on the guitars and the think atmosphere of the recording. While the songs sound full and heavy as hell, sometimes it becomes hard to pinpoint specific differences between the songs, as the distortion doesn’t really stand out much from chords that happen to be close to the chords just previous played. That doesn’t mean that this album does boast some sick tracks though. “Sleeping in Hell” is a blistering, grinding audio assault that will make you want to mosh with the nearest blunt object in honor of the horror-theme of the album. The drums hammer away with a good deal of variety against the blistering guitars that manage to really stand out through the distortion, unlike some of the other songs on here.

Another positive element is the amount of energy. While the guitar solos are open, the solo itself is typically full of energy, along with the drums and bass really trying to push the song along while clearly having fun with it. The rather brutal vibe from the heavy music definitely gets a push in the right direction from the energy too, allowing some like “Merchants of Sleaze” and “Slaughterhouse Recollections” to really have a strong factor of intimidation and aggression that wouldn’t really exist if the band hadn’t been at their best in the studio. That energy also really helps make “Sex Trash Princess” sound great, but it can’t save the song from the most open sounding guitar solo of the album.

If you’re looking for some solid Death Metal and Grindcore, then Mindscraper is a good place to start. Blood Freak put together a strong release that sounds heavier then what many others in the field have been churning out, and the energy throughout the music and vocals of the release is great. While much of the album comes off as your typical brand of Death and Grind, the band’s more unique exploitation influenced moments really take the album in a different direction for the time those sections are performed. But, in the long run, it’s your general brand of this style of music, just executed exceptionally well.

01. Psychoplasmics – 3:04
02. Merchants of Sleaze – 3:40
03. Sleeping in Hell – 3:14
04. Pink on the Inside – 3:29
05. Scared Stiff – 3:55
06. Slaughterhouse Recollections – 5:18
07. Mindscraper – 3:40
08. Sex Trash Princess – 4:03
09. Paralyzed by the Medusa Spider – 2:21
10. Death Trip…In the Dryg Den of the Damned – 2:57
11. We Kill Cause We Care – 3:32
12. Gobble Up Your Guts! Pt. 3 – 5:43
Overall Score: 8/10
Blood Freak (Band)
Blood Freak (Logo)
Digital review copy of this release provided by Willowtip Records.