Bloodiest – Bloodiest

After releasing their debut album Ruin in 2011, it became quite silent around Illinois based sludge metal outfit Bloodiest. Now, five years later, they’ve returned with their sophomore, self-titled album as one of the first metal releases of 2016.

What initially grabbed my attention about this band’s music was the very dusty, rundown atmosphere of their first album as well as the influences from bands like Neurosis that shaped the band’s sound quite noticeably and even though Ruin didn’t win me over completely, I thought that the band delivered a pretty solid debut, that definitely built a good foundation to work with and improve on.

However, their new album kind of fails to expand on that. The atmosphere is still quite dark, almost occult in places and the instrumentations are more psychelic and stoner influenced than they were on their first album, with shouted, shamanistic vocals and fuzzy guitars in the more intense parts of the album.

Speaking of intense parts, though, there really aren’t that many. Despite their length most songs on this album climax in quite unsatisfying ways, with what should be the build up being rather weak, just dragging on and kind of meandering around.

This is not to say that this album doesn’t have any strong points though. I think the third track, titled Condition, a mostly acoustic interlude close to the three minute mark, does a really great job of crafting a somber, warm atmosphere, especially when the electrical guitars kick in during the last third to evoke a strong sense of vastness and desolation.

The fifth track, Mind Overlaps, actually sets up a nice scene for what could be an emotionally intense song, but the band just decides to cut it off before it could really develop into anything of the sort and the next track doesn’t manage to act as the cathartic follow-up that it’s apparently supposed to be, though it does have some strong riffing in the mid-section.

Overall, this album is a bit of a letdown, since I felt like the band had quite a bit of potential, but this record just doesn’t really grab me and even when it’s about to do so just lets go of me again.

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