Bear with me here.
Despite being a sworn in US citizen, adapting almost all American traditions (good and bad), there’s a few American-isms I just can’t get into. Chewing tobacco and Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The weird thing is that I love peanut butter and I love Jelly―it’s called Jam fer’ crying out loud―when eaten separately. However, mix them together and it induces a gag reflex.
What does this have to do with a metal CD review? Blood Revolt is my musical peanut butter and jelly sandwich ― without the gagging.
You’d think that a CD (on Profound Lore no less) featuring the brilliantly emotive A.A. Nemtheanga of Primordial on vocals and the duo of C. Ross/Vermin (guitar) and James Read (drums) from Axis of Advance and Revenge (as well as time in Arkhon Infaustus, Kerasphorus) would be pretty much the perfect record. Well, at times it is. Separately, Nemtheanga wails, rasps and speaks with his typically regal and somber hues and Read/Cross blaze away with a feral, vitriolic war/black/death metal ferocity that’s to die for ― especially that guitar tone.
However, when they come together for a melding of their styles, it is at times, rather awkward. Notably it’s when Nemtheanga is doing his Primordial croon and the other guys are blasting away behind him. Now, when the band slows down and delivers a somber crawl or a more restrained moment more befitting of Nemtheanga’s morose wails ― it’s perfect. As is it when the band shred away violently and Nemtheanga rasps with a much more fitting presence.
Opener “Salvation at the Barrel of a Gun” is a track that shows the very essence of what plagues the album… and makes it at times awesome at the same time. The breakneck riffing and blasting are truly impressive but the vocals just don’t jive for me. However, about four minutes in, the track takes a moody tangent and a brief spoken word from Nemtheanga that works effectively as does the pure thrash climax ― complete with more fitting aggressive vocals. And so goes the rest of the album; the riffs are generally excellent ― it just depends what vocals you get. And personally, Nemtheanga’s vocals are simply more suited to craggy Irish mountains and misty medieval throes. With Blood Revolt he’s more topical with themes dealing with snipers, Jihads, IEDs and other more modern forms of slaughter and religion.
Most of the tracks like “Dead City Stare”, “God’s Executioner, Praise Be”, “My Name in Blood” and “Indoctrine” are much like the opener; both awkward (vocals) and awesome (blistering riffs). However, at times, Blood Revolt manage to blend the two talents with better results such as arguable standout “Bite the Hand, Purge the Flesh”, brooding “Year Zero” and parts of closer “The Martyr’s Brigade” where the vocals are spiteful rasps and hate filled spoken diatribes over a variety of riffs, occasionally the band slowing down with Nemtheanga singing.
I’m certainly not trying to lambast Indoctrine. It’s an album that will get a lot of deserved attention and praise ― in part to the collaboration. But for me, it’s been a bit of a grower that almost requires me to listen to the whole thing as if there were two layers. Even for fans of the contributors, it’s definitely a case of try before you buy.[Visit the band's website]