Bloodiest: Descent

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Bloodiest: Descent
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Bloodiest: Descent
Doom Metal, Drone, Experimental, Sludge Metal
Relapse Records
March 29th, 2011
Release length: 38:49
Myspace
Bloodiest is categorized largely on-line as an Experimental outfit, blending styles of the Chicago Rock scene, as well as heavier influences to the music. This description becomes completely understandable with the release of their full-length effort, Descent, through Relapse Records. The group is a seven piece act that features members from well known underground acts like 90 Day Men, Atombombpocketknife, Sweep the Leg Johnny, Follows, and the most infamous of them all, Yakuza. So, for many, this release winds up being an instant purchase. But, how far does the experimentation of their sound go, and just what is in store for those who are not quite up to snuff with the Chicago underground?

Descent manages to take on many forms in the line of music that appears here. The group incorporates a mixture of Droning Doom and Sludge Metal through some material, such as the starting track “Fallen” which also seem to incorporate some of the Rock influence mentioned earlier in the way of vocals. The band also takes on some heavily atmospheric tendencies with “Coh”, a song that relies solely on the listener’s take on the music being played. To me, it felt like a mixture between a dark western, with the clouds turning black in a time when cowboys roamed the wild west, as well as could be deciphered more with an Egyptian vibe in later guitars that appear. The song bleeds into “Pastures”, another atmospheric/Ambient track that takes the sound of “Coh”, but pulls it from an instrumental, to some well fitting lower male vocals that capture the desolate and desperate atmosphere of the song nicely, making it feel more melancholic then anything by the time the track is done.

While there is some atmosphere to the songs, they often aren’t that strong. “Coh” and “Pastures” are really the only times that the songs really have a strong, atmospheric vibe to them. The rest of the material just feels like a good combination of styles with a Doom Metal or Droning musical approach, but nothing too grand. After “Pastures” the music seems to take a bit of a nose dive. “Dead Inside” isn’t a bad track and has a bit of a dark vibe to it, but while there’s a decent atmosphere, it feels like there’s no real passion for it outside the vocals, which only really start to make an impact around the halfway point when the song takes on a more Depressive Rock approach and the keyboards kick in, slowly building up to it, but kicking in too late to really feel like it’s saving the song, and comes off a little drawn out in the end.

The biggest let down is the lack of emotion with this release. Given how atmospheric the band can make the material sound, not having as strong an atmosphere on some songs, and almost all just feel like there’s no real emotion to the music to accompany any mental imagery the band is trying to pull off is easily the greatest let down. While the music sounds good and often impressive through some technical aspects, the whole experience just feels a little incomplete. Another issue is that much of the release seems to focus around one specific form of atmosphere that never really seems to change outside of what chords are being played, typically varying in speed. “Slave Rule”, for example, just feels like “Coh” and much of “Pastures” done with slightly different chords. The only real difference is that there’s more tension in the song, but not necessarily in a good way, coming off more in a “why does it feel so restrained?” manner. In addition, the vocals also feel rather repetitive after a while. Without any real emotional effort, the vocals sound like a less nasal B52‘s style sound with a more modern Rock performance, but there’s no real range, and for the most part all the vocals are done in the same somewhat-shouted-yet-clearly-not manner. The approach isn’t too impressive to begin with, though with the right amount of atmosphere it can work out, leaving the songs to start to feel bland and boring by the time you hit the half way mark.

Outside the melancholic and varying degrees of atmosphere on this recording, Descent is an album full of unrecognized potential. There’s plenty of songs on here that feel solid and are enjoyable, but never really have that emotional tie to them that can really work it all together with the listener in a manner to pain the proper mental picture with the music the band is trying to get across. Bloodiest do bring in varying musical inspirations and mesh together varying styles such as Droning, Doom Metal, Sludge Metal, and more, and for a superground of underground celebrities, it is an impressive release for what it is. While Descent is worth checking out, it’s far from a spectacular release, and does leave more to be desired of the group due lack of emotion and varying music to break up the repetition in atmosphere, performance, and vocals, leaving this a release you’ll only really feel compelled to come back to on a rainy day as opposed to a casual spin due to memorable music.

01. Fallen – 6:12
02. Coh – 3;17
03. Pastures – 4:28
04. Dead Inside – 11:11
05. Slave Rule – 9:02
06. Obituary – 4:40
Overall Score: 5.5/10
Bloodiest (Band)Digital review copy of this release provided by Relapse Records.