Around six months ago, just as the world started losing its mind, and was shutting down over a then relatively unknown virus, my mind was firmly on other matters, for had just stumbled upon the Los Angeles band Old Blood. To say I was captivated at the time would be an understatement. I jumped on to Bandcamp, and promptly ordered myself a copy of the self-titled album Old Blood, not knowing where it would lead me. While ordering, I chanced my arm, and requested if it be signed, and if that was at all possible. Due to the way things were going, I wasn’t expecting any sort of reply, just a long, drawn out delay. Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong. I was contacted directly by one of the band, who actually took the time, and drove to each band member, and got my vinyl signed for me, before promptly posting it to the UK.
When it arrived, I was overjoyed to have both received it in one piece, and to have known that this band had gone above and beyond to get my request fulfilled. On that day I fell in love with Old Blood. Since then, they’ve gotten themselves to a point where they’re now on the verge of releasing their new album, Acid Doom, to the world, and to say I was holding my breath in anticipation is an understatement.
And now I’ve finally got to preview the new album, and was given the opportunity to review it too, and here’s what I found…
For any existing fans, the departure of previous vocalist Feathers, was probably met with some trepidation. Well fear not, for Lynx has bowled in to fill those boots, and my god, has she not only just filled them, she’s redesigned them, and made them her own.
Existing members Diesel (drums), J.F. Stone (keyboards), Octopus (Bass), and C. Gunner (guitar) have embraced this move, evolved, and what has come out the other side is just completely spellbinding. Maybe it’s Lynx joining, maybe they were already on their way in this evolution, but either way, Acid Doom is definitely the perfect outpouring of such a monumental merging.
Acid Doom is a nine track, mind melding experience, so rich in its eerie, psychedelic sludgy doominess, that to do it justice would be to advise you to go and experience it for yourself, as my mere words will probably not come close to just how great this all really is.
As unique as it is, it still has the hallmarks of a stoner meets doom album, but it’s beyond that. It’s like a spook show, it’s theatrical, and it’s like something from a retro B-movie horror film. It’s so rich, and full of sound, that even the devil himself would want this for his soundtrack.
It’s absolutely spellbinding, and you can’t help but become enraptured at every twist and turn…
Right from track one, Lake Bottom, the sleazy backdrop is set, and as Lynx’s vocal swoops in over the sludgy drone of the backdrop, it’s clear that the replacement in songstress was an inspired choice. Her rich vocal adds a whole new level to the Old Blood sound, it’s soulful, righteous, and as powerful as a juggernaut smashing through the walls.
Track’s two and three, Bridge To Nowhere and Veinscraper respectively, have me turning up, and zoning out completely. The retro keyboard organ sound is so reminiscent of Ray Manzarek of The Doors that it’s scary, it’s dark and brooding, and when the keys take the lead during Bridge To Nowhere in unison with the spellbinding vocal, is an absolute delight.
Veinscraper has been out for a while now on several different platforms to tease at just what Old Blood are doing in twenty twenty. I believe that the reason can only be that if you had one chance to impress Old Blood on a new listener, then this is the ideal track. It encapsulates the band superbly, its rich musicianship, and captivating vocals showcase sublimely just how good this band can be.
Tracks like Heavy Water really showcase Gunners incredible musicianship on the guitar, right from the opening bars, and with the sultry vocal layered on top, you can’t help but be pulled in toward the chorus, which is intoxicating and threatening, in equal measures. With an epic guitar solo, and lines like ‘You blew it, you’re gonna pay somehow’, it’s both terrifying and intriguing at the same time.
One of my absolute favourites on the album has to be the awesomely titled Slothgod, and it’s hard to choose between this and Veinscraper for that one quintessential Old Blood tune that defines their sound. The bass is crushingly heavy, the riffs are a stoners wet dream, and with driving drums, what’s not to love?
As Orbit starts, it’s hard not to draw comparison in Lynx’s vocal with that of Skin from Skunk Anansie. The song really showcases her range, and abilities, and definitely proves just how versatile she really is. In relation, the backing soundtrack is comparable to that of classic Pink Floyd, so it’s win win. The track has somewhat of a ‘film noir’ air to it, its rich, dark, and suspicious. When it’s heavy it’s monumentally heavy, it’s neither fast nor vicious, but it’s as menacing as hell.
As the engines roar in on closer, 429, and the vivacious keys welcome in the vocal, it’s the perfect sayonara. It drives through, full throttle, with no sign of slowing down, Old Blood are riding us home at breakneck speed. When the band are in these moments, its absolute heaven to hear, it’s full of energy and life, and really showcases a band who are following their own rules. It’s absolutely spellbinding, and you can’t help but become enraptured at every twist and turn. It’s so indulgent, but in the most infectious way, and is so overwhelming that by the time the music has stopped, and the sound of running water is all that’s left, it takes a moment to even notice that it’s over.
As I look back on the album, I’m overwhelmed by how rich it is. It’s well observed, well played, and is monumental in sound. I never doubted that Old Blood would evolve and adapt with the departure of Feathers, but what has emerged is nothing short of intoxicating. If you’re looking for something that’s as different as it gets, while firmly remaining in that sludge doom gene pool, then Old Blood would be a recommendation definitely worth checking out, you never know, you might be very pleasantly surprised.
Scribed by: Lee Beamish