June 30, 2011

Music Review: Bloodiest - Descent

DescentUpon first listen, Bloodiest is a band that defies explanation. At first glance they strike me as a sort of jam metal band like Mastodon crossed with the ambient metal of Neurosis. It is a sound that is not immediately accessible or even really likable. It is a sound that requires work and attention to truly enjoy and even then you may find that it is not for you. As I listen to Descent, I do not see it as an album that is going to have a very wide appeal.

On top of that, I believe a Bloodiest concert would be an absolute bore that could threaten to put me to sleep. At the same time it is an album that I find to be downright incredible, a hypnotic collection of music that begs to be listened to multiple times. Yes, I know how add that sounds given some of what I have already said.

This is metal as genre expanding art, in that it is not metal so much as it is avant garde musical creation, orchestrated beauty that is in touch with it's primordial self. Sounds sort of pretentious and I do not mean it to be. I don't have a pretentious bone in my body and not knowing these guys, I suspect they do not either. Still, there is something to be said about an artistic collective that push boundaries out and out past known genre labels and into something else altogether.

Sure, the easiest way to begin describing Bloodiest would be as a metal band, they certainly aren't pop, country, jazz, or hip hop. They use screaming, raw vocals, pulsing drums, and distorted guitars, elements of what we know as metal all. It is an organic cloud of metal elements formed into a primordial, free form exploration of atmospheric sound.

It all starts with "Fallen" whose opening is not unlike "Misirlou" by Dick Dale and the Del-Tones (used memorably in Pulp Fiction). However, rather than taking a similar upbeat route, it plumbs the depths creating a tension filled atmosphere that takes you further and further into some dark territories, a beginning of the titular Descent.

That is followed by the enigmatic strumming of "Coh." This is a tune that evokes dusty towns of the Old West. It is an instrumental with some vocalizations (no real singing). It feels almost as if it was pulled from a 1960's era spaghetti western. That moves right into even more atmospheric meandering in "Pastures."

Everything feels centered around the eleven-minute epic "Dead Inside." This track is just an amazing piece of music. It is something that must be heard to be believed. Hypnotic, heavy, atmospheric, dark, epic, genre-defying, all things that give insight to what Bloodiest is, or at least what they appear to be to me.

Bloodiest's Descent is a listening experience of monolithic proportions. Much like the arrival of the monolith in 2001, it is an awe inspiring experience. Again, not for everybody, but maybe it should? What do I know? I can tell you one thing I know, I like Bloodiest. A lot.

Highly Recommended.

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