This Bloodiest article was written by Ben Malkin, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Zoe Anderson.

When the glass is half empty and you’re aware you’ll soon be left with the shards of what once was, what should one do? If you said “take note of these feelings of anguish and pessimism, take them into a recording studio and put together the gloomiest, most downtrodden record of early 2016”, you’d be right, and you’d be commended for such a specific answer.

On their new, eponymous release, Chicago sextet Bloodiest bellow out the remnants of life left in their tortured interiors. Doom metal is seen crawling through the desolate lands of black metal; sludge is seen lounging in tandem with grunge, and the emotions that come out of these fusing, aggressive styles are as real as anything.

The main problem brought about by this approach is that clichés still very-much-so exist in the world of music, and a fairly key cliché in a few of these genres is the whole “we’re bitter, we’re anxious and we may or may not have reasons why” thing. The gloominess is well demonstrated musically, so yes, points for that. But the subject matters are shady; while its probably likely that everything you can hear on this album comes from a real place, it’s fairly difficult to make complete sense of it all.

When the band emphasise their instrumentals, deciding not to run rampant with forgettable lyricism, all is good in the world, even in this demented world that Bloodiest live in. Look at ‘Condition’, a purely instrumental track that sits in the foetal position, constantly in paranoia, thinking that the world is out to get it, drenched in fear. Don’t worry, ‘Condition’, it’s all in your head. Songs like the opener ‘Mesmerize’ hit hard instrumentally, but distract with melancholy vocal ramblings.

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Bloodiest positively (or negatively in this case) execute these cursed feelings of perpetual dread throughout the rest of the record, ‘Mind Overlaps’ features strange, demonic mumblings that blend in with ‘calm before the storm’-esque music, and so I guess we can throw the word ‘gothic’ around a few times too. ‘He Is Disease’ instantly fires away with guitars, bass and drums straight after the previously mentioned song, adding to the flow of the album in the process. The intro of the track is the bloodiest, most grotesque brawl ever commissioned by Hell’s governing body, it screams; “world, thy name is Armageddon Man”. Though, compliments aside, the vocals once again get distracting, which is a shame because they’re layered above a pretty nice old school heavy metal rhythm guitar backdrop, with some really cool, shifty, confusing rhythm.

Bloodiest’s self-titled album is barbaric, brutal and yes, bloody. Keeping up with the vibe that their name gives, it probably is their bloodiest-sounding release yet. That being said, the album isn’t without its issues; while the overall commitment to sorrow and joylessness is a big plus, the moments that see the glum become overbearing are all minuses. Still, the album is definitely a recommendation for those that seek out despair in their music.

‘Bloodiest’ is out now via Relapse.

Bloodiest 'Bloodiest' - ALBUM REVIEW

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