Doom metal and post metal have often been genres that bring about mixed feelings. After all, when done well, both become instant favorites, earning a heavy amount of plays and more than justifying the massive amount of storage space they take up on either iPod or computer. However, for those bands that fail to truly explore the style to its maximum potential, the two genres can often drone on, feeling as if they are never going anywhere while also failing to sink their teeth into a more drone/ambient style to maintain interest. As such, it often leads a somewhat lopsided, awkward feeling when a post metal band is heard that sits right on that threshold; providing just enough of a hook to peak interest but continuously failing to bring it around full circle and keep a listener actively engaged. Such is the issue with Bloodiest’s newest offering and self titled album, Bloodiest. Despite the occasional hook and interesting riff, it ultimately fails to deliver, making it feel as if it is more of a task and test of commitment to finish than an overall captivating listening experience.
Starting off the album on the correct foot is the aptly named “Mesmerize“, a track that opens with a roaring guitar build up undercut by a rhythmic, almost tribal drumming. It shows Bloodiest at their finest and displaying their full skill sets; wide crescendos into subtle dips, a chugging, pulsating guitar and bass that feel as if they are a living heart beat, and a drum groove that keeps it all driving, despite its repetitive nature. The song even ends with a nice bit of shimmery, noisey guitar work that draws forth the more Zodiac sign work of Fucked Up, providing an interesting new element in the foreground of the song to grip on to.
Ultimately all of this is what makes Bloodiest so interesting. They understand the integral parts of post metal, and strive valiantly to make it work, turning all the proper gears. And boy do the gears ever turn on “Mesmerize“. It is driving, interesting, ever changing without getting lost in itself and descending into a chaos that was never intended.
However part of the issue with “Mesmerize” is that it also holds far too many of the bands flourishes and added elements far too early on, leading the rest of the album to simply fall off into a descent of “been there, done that” attitude that makes it difficult to listen to fluidly in one take. The repetitive, rhythmic drumming that carried a beautiful sort of simplicity to it early on grows tired and repetitive, dredging in the background of all the songs instead of creating a powerful base for them to build off of. Similarly, the shimmery, noisey guitar attack that came practically out of nowhere during the opening track, while still holding enough differences to be interesting in the first few tracks, quickly becomes so overused and repetitive that by the back half of the album there is a plea for some sort of escape from it. The riffs in general, in fact, tend not to move or challenge themselves much at all, providing little room for any interesting vocal melodies to develop and constraining all songs involved into awkward, half baked creations.
This is not to say that Bloodiest has no redemptive qualities, however. As mentioned above, the band is quite skilled at playing with dynamic contrast and it is an interesting quality to have, but ultimately isn’t enough of a hook to make the album an enjoyable, complete listen. It feels choppy, as if something is missing, but choppy in a way that it is close to being correct that it only creates more aggravation. In almost all ways, Bloodiest is damn near close to a truly stunning, powerful album, but their inability to hit those last few key points leads it to fall short and become a far less enjoyable experience.
Bloodiest – Bloodiest gets…