Release DetailsLABEL Alternative Tentacles Records
RELEASED ON 5/23/2006
Hell Bent For Letters
posted on 6/2006 By:
Art containing gimmicks should always be approached with caution. Although a gimmick or novelty has the potential to elevate a film or album, in most cases it has been introduced to make up for an overall lack of quality. The packaging of the latest Tool album might be seen as an example of the latter, while the lyrics of the band Macabre demonstrate the former, although some argue that Macabre’s serial killer lyrics degrade the band’s ability to be judged for their excellent musicianship and songwriting. Most metal bands that employ gimmicks tend to be shoddy or mediocre; I point to Hatebeak and Caninus as evidence of this. The reason for this discussion is that all of the lyrics by the band Bloodhag are about science fiction authors and their books. As an avid reader, I was amused to notice songs such as “Anne McCaffrey” and “Andre Norton”, which refer to two authors whose work I devoured when I was younger. Bloodhag play “edu-core”, intending to promote literacy and metal, and as such, have done shows in public libraries as well as ordinary venues.
All of this might make for a fairly amusing joke if it was not for the band’s music, which keeps them from joining the myriad bands whose lyrics you read for amusement and whose actual music you avoid. Bloodhag play plodding death metal with thrash and doom influences, and although it’s nothing groundbreaking, it’s certainly entertaining and more than competent. The songs are pretty short, usually between one and two minutes, and to some extent that means that the compositions aren’t as fleshed-out as they could be. However, the riffs are engaging and the performances are more than enthusiastic, with a standout vocal assault by the band’s frontman, “Prof.” J.B. Stratton. All in all, it makes for an engaging listen. Bloodhag’s chops are also not to be doubted; although there is nothing hyper-technical going on, it all sounds pretty tight, and the production highlights the low end rumble going on.
Check out this release if you enjoy death metal, and definitely if you’re a fan of science fiction. The music is solid and the lyrics are funny as hell, especially if you’re an aficionado of Asimov and company. I’m exercising quite a bit of restraint in not ending this review with a sci-fi joke, and I’m sure that you’ll all appreciate that. Instead, I’ll wrap up with two remarks culled from the band’s Myspace:
"The oddest compliment I've ever received" - Thomas M. Disch
"What an extraordinarily unusual thing for someone to do" - William Gibson
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