July 19th, 2010
Genre: Black/Death Metal
This is one for the ages in voyages into untold darkness and violence of bestial war metal. The talents swirling within this release are such that one should not ignore what this release has to offer. This is another example of Canada demolishing the competition.
Composed of a triad of fantastic and seasoned members, Blood Revolt tear through every boundary of extremity in black and death metal with their first and only release (thus far) titled Indoctrine. From the legendary Primordial: A.A. Nemtheanga brings his jarring and pained vocals to grate on this release, while the inhumane, squall-like drumming of James Read (of Axis of Advance, Revenge, Conqueror, and Kerasphorus) batters and bludgeons with untold ferocity and technicality, and finally the sharpened axe of Chris Ross (Axis of Advance, Revenge, and Weapon) shreds and obliterates in true terror all the conventions known to the genre.
Who would ignore this release? I am ashamed of myself for not knowing about it when it initially appeared.
Indoctrine is a lesson for every metal fan and musician. Without traipsing down the path of dissonant Portal or Gorguts worship this record twists the traditional death metal formula into something so grotesque, so abhorrent that it's a wonder how they have gone unnoticed up to this point: especially those who claim death metal is dying (despite the slew of other excellent releases that also prove otherwise). While the tone is certainly warlike this is no clone of the genre, it in fact escapes that categorization with ease through it's unique sound, superb writing, and whirlwind pacing.
Nemtheanga's vocals have received criticism on this record due to their unorthodox clean, howling, wavering style from purists of the style — what a fucking surprise. Disregard them. His style fits the atmosphere of this record perfectly: tortured and amorous with a true feeling of ferocious urgency. The lyrics are violent and hold no punches. According to the band's statement Indoctrine "... follows the first person narrative of a man who comes to the realization that he lives outside of the system as an animal, a law unto himself. To his salvation through striking at the system, severing its artery, wringing its neck in the only self-expression left to those with no choice in this world. In over the course of eight acts, you will witness his descent into madness, salvation at the barrel of a gun, dehumanisation and ultimately his redemption in destroying himself."
From reading them they espouse war and the power of man against God and all natural forces, alienation, the consequence of raw power and mortal desperation, betrayal, martyrdom, the detailed expression of the filth of battle, the transfiguration of will into a life-ending grasp on the system, the smell of burning cities, metal and sulfur.
This really comes through in all the songs displayed here, but especially the title track, "The Martyrs Brigade", "God's Executioner, Praise Be", "Salvation at the Barrel of a Gun", and "My Name In Blood Across The Sky." I assume if you like Primordial then the vocals won't be a hurdle. Even if you don't, this is metal we're talking about — bending the norms to create something brutal, cacophonous and extreme is what the genre is about.
Between these howls of agony there is the rare but very appropriate and mood setting samples, sometimes spoken passages that are distorted and laced in static. Indoctrine opens with a very ominous one indeed: on "Salvation at the Barrel of a Gun" heavy, haggard breathing is heard, a quick heart beat with one line "make my aim true and my hand steady" followed by successive gunshots before you're thrust into the chaos. It crushes from this point onward with a hateful lust.
Beyond this is the truly magnificient drumming and riffing. Read is a legend. His skills are practically untouchable: his speed and technical finesse are blinding, raw and capture the urgency of the rush of battle. The production arguably hampers them but again in this genre all things are dirty so suck it up. Read will pound your bones to a fine paste before the end without any question.
Ross clearly knows how to craft memorable, filthy, venomous guitar rhythms and leads that cut through to your soul. They lash at your ears with barbarous malice. The tone is condensed and without the plastic feeling so common in "brutal" metal today. Despite being sour every moment of Ross' work on the guitar becomes spellbinding, truly gripping. His riffs will stay with you after this record has finished spinning. Indoctrine has finished its assault. You could take any track on this album as an example of this, but just take a glimpse of "The Martyrs Brigade":
The riffs are chunky and hypnotic, churning with a searing hatred, shifting from gritty tremolo thrashes to thick and energetic sliding powerchords to quick alternate picked slices and gallops. When a solo does appear it is anything but filler: it is almost melodic but so simple that there is no pretension to be heard. The slower moments twist with pain in an ugly groove. Again, the only slow-ish track on the record is My Name In Blood Across The Sky which has a very subtle touch of doom to it midway through (like Antediluvian's Under Wing of Asael), and even it strays into the sheer abrasive speed of the others; especially in terms of Read's drum work.
For all fans of death metal or black metal looking for the ultimate in writhing horror. Especially if you're a fan of Axis of Advance, Rites of thy Degringolade and Revenge you would be doing yourself a disservice to not begin spinning this album immediately. A highly recommended gem of the genre that I have not done justice to here. Profound Lore still have copies available, or if you're in Europe you can find this at Invictus Productions' store as well. Buy it now.