Impactful, But Lacks Direction
Poison Blood’s first album dropped in August of this year. Even though both members are part of other bands (Krieg and Horseback), together they are a set of newcomers. Although it’s only their first LP, Poison Blood leaves quite the impression upon first listen. As they work to define themselves in the metal world, they made a huge step with this release.
Poison Blood debuts on the metal scene by showcasing their unique minimal black metal sound. The vocals certainly indicate black metal, but the instrumentals often veer out of black metal into thrash and even have a country twang at points. For a star example of this, check out “Myths from the Desert.” The track starts out as black metal 101, but then changes course about halfway in favor of slower and more elongated drags of guitar.
Some of the guitar melodies exhibited in these riffs are super catchy and seemingly out of character for any black metal band. “A Cracked and Desolate Sky” also has similar qualities, in that it’s a mish-mash of riffs, as opposed to being all black metal style guitar all the time.
Though these slight sound variations highlight some diverse material, they also work to show the band’s biggest detriments. For one, the vocals are constantly the same throughout, which is to be expected of black metal, but when the entire song goes through a change it seems odd to have the vocals remain as the only constant. The black metal vocal style is definitely one of an acquired taste, but even black metal faithfuls may have a hard time following the song logic and structure on this album.
Song structure is another area where this album both excels and waivers. For example “The Scourge and the Gestalt,” Deformed Lights” and “From the Lash” are all songs that are hard to differentiate from one another. All have similar song structure with similar vocal patterns, guitar solos and riffage. This is where consistency loses out to a possible lack of creativity. However, songs like “Circle of Salt” and “Myths from the Desert” are refreshing alternatives to the norm on Poison Blood.
In terms of keeping the listener’s attention, this album is tough to miss. Though, in terms of actual enjoyment, it’s a hard LP to latch onto. Poison Blood made an impactful first effort to produce something that many have not heard before, but it was not done the best it could have been. Poison Blood will inevitably release some more music, which should see them perfect the same minimalist black metal genre they’ve sewn together.