BLOOD “Inferno” (Release Date: September 29, 2017)
Like so many suburban kids in the late ’80s, my early education in ‘extreme music’ was solely dependent on having friends who were infinitely cooler and more knowledgeable than myself. Luckily for me, my buddy Vaughn had a vast tape and zine collection that never failed to inspire genuine awe and envy every time I laid eyes on it. Even better, he lived within walking distance of a weird, eclectic little record shop, and it seemed like he’d either have a couple of new tapes to dub for me or a new zine to lend me every time we hung out.
It was in one of those zines that I first remember reading about Blood’s “Impulse to Destroy” in a review accompanied by a crudely Xerox’d image of the album cover, which somehow made the already-fucked artwork look even MORE deranged. Although I can’t recall the specific words the reviewer used describe the album, the description essentially boiled down to ‘This album is evil, fast, and fucking INSANE,’ which was really all I needed to know. Although it was probably another few months before I actually managed to get my hands on the tape, by the time it was in my eager hands, I’d already spent a lot of time imagining what these demented Germans must sound like based on the reviewer’s rabid hyperbole, the gloriously primitive artwork, and the handful of few song titles mentioned in the review. However utterly fucking demented I’d imagined it might sound, “Impulse to Destroy” still surpassed my expectations and, honestly, it completely weirded me the fuck out. It took several more listens before I even knew how I felt about it, before ultimately deciding that it was fucking awesome and eventually wearing out the tape and replacing it on vinyl.
Fast-forward to twenty-five years later, standing in a club in Montreal, trying not to spill my beer in my euphoria as I was finally about to witness Blood live. Once they took the stage, much like my first brain-melting experience of hearing “Impulse…,” they proceeded to totally surpass my expectations, playing with an energy and ferocity that put many of the other bands that night (many of who were probably half their age) to shame. Even more amazing – after Siege unfortunately had to cancel their set due to issues trying to cross the Canadian border – Blood played again on the SECOND night of the fest, too. It was all-around an unforgettable time and only made my love for the band stronger.
I haven’t reviewed anything for this blog so far, and I kind of doubt that I will again (seems like sort of a pointless exercise in an age where, after three minutes of listening to something on YouTube, you can decide for yourself whether or not you like a band/record) but when Martin Witchskinner asked if I’d be interested in reviewing the new Blood, which meant getting to hear it weeks before its release, there was NO fucking way I was gonna say no. Whatever fleeting anxiety I may have had about possibly having to give a lukewarm or even shitty review to a band I’ve enjoyed for so many years was almost immediately eclipsed by my curiosity to hear it. And I’m relieved I did, because again, Blood has surpassed my expectations. Their first album since 2003’s “Dysangelium” and first with Martin Witchskinner back on vocals since 1993’s “O Agios Pethane,” “Inferno” is the exceedingly rare ‘comeback’ album that not only fits flawlessly alongside the band’s existing discography, but arguably manages to improve it.
Blood’s unique deathgrind formula remains intact and as vital as as it did a decade ago. I’d even argue that “Dysangelium” didn’t quite capture the sense of urgency and savagery on display here. The primitive, acute brutality of Destroyer Eisen’s riffs remain undiluted, Satanic Taki’s bass is thankfully mixed loud and thick, and (with no disrespect to Clausi) hearing Martin on vocals again is the icing on this (big) cake. Although I won’t dissect each track (hopefully you’ll be checking this out yourself) a few of the standout tracks include “The Summoning,” “The Devil’s Coronation,” “Inquisitor Witchskinner,” and “Impulse to Destroy.” After listening to this record countless times over the last few weeks, it continues to grow on me more each time. Bottom line, Blood still fucking rules; do NOT sleep on this one!!