Thursday, September 09, 2010

Blood Revolt—Indoctrine (Profound Lore)

There’s metal, and then there’s extreme metal. Blood Revolt make extremist metal. Indoctrine puts you in their blast zone, where they will cut you down. This Irish-Canadian collaboration—vocalist AA Nemtheanga (Primordial) joining Albertan war-metal stalwarts C Ross and J Read (Axis of Advance) on guitars and drums respectively—attack this album like a suicide squad, knowing this is their one chance to get it right. Anything less than total destruction would be a failure.

When this project was announced, I had difficulty envisioning how an emotive vocalist like Nemtheanga would mesh with the musical style of his bandmates. Primordial’s music provides space for singing, whereas Axis of Advance’s razor-wire hyperblast had been augmented exclusively by snarling, rasping vocals. It’s a testament to the strength of this collaboration that neither party has compromised at all. Nemetheanga plays his part to the hilt; howling, growling, speaking and whispering in his portrayal of someone whose internal struggles with faith and truth lead to a destructive act of martyrdom. It’s a bravura performance that is, I imagine, informed by his Irish heritage as well as by the ongoing insanity in the Middle East. Read and Ross are utterly furious throughout, firing off rounds of stirring, filth-encrusted riffs like Bolt Thrower in overdrive. The production is pretty much perfect, favouring the thick distortion of Scandinavian death while maintaining the raw scrape of past AoA recordings. The drum sound is especially effective—their natural resonance is more in the spirit of jazz records than modern metal production. I don’t usually think of drums as an emotional instrument, but here they sound truly angry, a rage stoked by the punishment that Read doles out with each snare/tom/snare/tom roll outburst.

Don’t think of Blood Revolt as some side project formed to indulge someone’s career frustration or musical fancy. Indoctrine stands on its own as the product of three musical extremists pushing each other to the limit. To paraphrase the album’s opening line, their aim is true and their hands are steady. If your listening habits reside at the ragged extremes, you’ll ignore this at your peril.

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