Rotten Blood

OK, so we all have particular tastes and preferences that we can’t help or do anything about, right? To that end, when it comes to music, I think we all have certain kinds sounds we’re just absolute suckers for. You hear something in that wheelhouse, and it hits you like a friggin’ Mack track driven by a coked-out Ric Flair just wantonly screaming “WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!” out the window with every pedestrian he splatters on the pavement. It’s all over for you. You never had a chance.

Well, Rotten Blood, by new-to-me St. Louis Blackened Speed/Thrash outfit Bastard, just slammed me. Absolutely obliterated me. I can hear Flair howling in the distance as he drives away.

What we have here is a swaggering, Motorhead and Nifilheim-worshiping, full-throttle barrage of goat-dick-swinging blasphemy. A celebration of all things Satan, Speed and Rock & Roll not unlike my favorite album of last year, Demiser’s Through the Gate Eternal. To even be reminded of that album is enough for me to know that we’ve got another absolute winner here. There’s a sneering, fuck-all attitude throughout this record that I just cannot get enough of, one that can only come from a group of dudes with a blue-collar core, who’ve taken life cues from the likes of Lemmy and Cronos.

As you might suspect, Rotten Blood is all about the riffs, and it comes packing some doozies. After an appropriate double-kick start to “Whipstrike,” and a necessary “OUGH” from vocalist Jason Barron, guitarist Scott Fogelbach (who also plays bass for excellent Blackened Sludge outfit, The Lion’s Daughter) kicks it into gear with a thrashing riff worthy of the song’s title that will grab you by the neck and make you start banging your head involuntarily. Honestly, just let it happen, because it’s gonna take you on a wild ride you do not want to miss out on. You’ll especially want to stick around til the 2:36 mark, where he breaks out the “n’roll” elements over a two-step beat that is every bit as familiar, but nonetheless infectious as it sounds. The excellent solo layered over it is just more icing on this deliciously venomous cake. Similar Rock n’ Roll-tinged thrashers “Protector” and “Rotten Blood” will have you begging to chug some Jack straight out the bottle right before riding your Harley through the living room at your next Heavy Metal house party (*DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE*), and 2022 may have just found it’s official metal theme song in “Under the Tattered Banners (Of Rock-n-Roll)” – an absolute barn burner of an anthem that begs for a good stage-rush to fully get the whole experience.

Accompanying the excellent riffing is a perfectly toned rumbling bass courtesy of Tim Kutterer, providing an excellent backbone and some additional gruff, especially on the more bruising, mid-paced opening stanza, and punishing closing breakdown on “The Possession.” And that bass really shines through beautifully behind the breakneck riffing on “Leather Bound Book of Lies,” really accentuating the downbeats and making the whole thing sound like it’s gurgling up from the fiery pits of hell. Kudos are in order for drummer Jason Asbury (Harkonin, Stormruler) who handles the relentless onslaught with absolute precision and proficiency, expertly laying the perfect foundation for the strings to build on.

If you REALLY want to nitpick, you could make a complaint that Rotten Blood is a little on dimensional in its tempo and tone, but… why would you? You’ve missed the point. It’s clear from the get-go that Bastard are putting a cinderblock on the accelerator, blasting the stereo up to 11, and climbing into the bed of the truck to pollute the world with blistering riffage while their truck barrels through the streets, mowing down everything in its path. Rotten Blood is an unfiltered, unfettered, un-fucked-with slab of gnarly friggin’ metal, and I absolutely adore it. Kataklysm/Ex-Deo/Invictus mastermind Maurizo Iacono, found himself a real gem to help spearhead his new record label.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Steve K
March 30th, 2022


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