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Blood - Christbait
Review: After a successfully messy grindcore outing, Blood turned toward their death metal influences and made an album with longer songs that aimed at structure and mood instead of an atmosphere of raw impact; the result, while powerful, suffers somewhat from this schizophrenia but revives itself by being the forthright deconstruction most popular music cannot admit it is, gaining from this honesty a momentum toward a revelation of the logical contexture of its mood.
Blood carve out a sonic niche by interspersing longer melodic riffs with the type of percussive budget riff that distinguishes their more grindcore material, creating a hybrid of the powerful American sound like Malevolent Creation and European death metal like Morgoth that mixes easily with their existing epic but minimalist blasting grind. Using serial progressions of riffs, Blood build an intensifying suspension of disbelief in which the reductive nature of external reality shatters any human sounds or organizations, and then, in vertiginous transfers of rhythmic energy, deconstruct with exegesis that places each phrase in a larger context where harmony of note value is absent but narrative of phrases together as a pattern language gains clarity and focus.
Melodies rise from a few notes and carefully double back on themselves and transpose similar structures, like folk melodies of the last millenia, giving these songs an ancient air and the gravity that comes from the simple but universal mathematics of modal composition. Like many grindcore bands in the middle 1990s, Christbait sees Blood forsaking the messy and unclear for more rigid but communicative statements, but even in the midst of this influence, these musicians inject ambiguity in the suspense between melodic leads in an effort to dissolve the percussive explosion of a structural undoing they clearly find too literal.
The characteristic monotone, chortling bassy growl and powerful riffs bent out of two chords strung between shuttering rhythms of offtime rhythms begining and ending on points of cadence remain present; musicianship is clearer and more ambitious on these longer songs, which although they do not use radically more riffs levitate those in more challenging tempi and force a greater clarity on guitar and percussion alike. This album rivals the giants of thundering death metal but because it does not linger on the optimal balance of rhythmic hook and drone, and opts instead to create a mood all its own in death metal, never reached the same degree of clarity.