Album: Out For Blood
Released: 12 December, 2014
When it comes to the most raw and primal means of human expression, I cannot claim to have encountered another personal experience on this planet which satisfies quite as efficiently as heavy metal music. In it’s many guises and over decades of evolution and development, the genre still ranks high in the world of music, art and expression, no matter how easily dismissed by mainstream channels. It matters not! Whether recognized or rebuked by popular culture, the foreseeable future will remain burdened by this thorn in its side which is us. Society will always contain a niche where there exists a need to strip away the sugar-coating and reveal a version of the truth which lays beneath: that humanity contains the very real potential for monstrosity. What better way to express that than with some crude lyrics and face-smashing death metal?
As regards this latest release by the Gauteng-based South African death metal band BloodBeast, I’d rate that the album Out For Blood is like all other long-matured things in life, an acquired taste. The bands founder and writer-in-chief, Van Zyl Alberts (Van666) has been skinning this carcass for a feast since the early 1990s and can already be credited with approximately two decades of death metal in his previous band Architecture Of Aggression.
I can celebrate that I am old enough to have tested my palate on many tastes! Now I realize that my experiences and collective views gained from the years will not necessarily be harmonious with others of my age, nor especially from those who are younger than I am. The universe and the possibilities which it holds for each of us is far too vast for that. My journey in music and development as a “sentient being” began in a time where things were very different. Music was listened to mostly on cassettes, which are probably one of the most volatile platforms upon which to serve such sacred sustenance, being subject to all sorts of catastrophes. Yet, since we knew of no different in those years of our youth, we listened, enjoyed, and we cherished. When the magnetic tape within the cassette stretched, or creased, or we had to use a carefully crafted piece of sellotape to repair a snapped section of our favourite song… it made little difference to the measure of enjoyment we took from the next listen.
What has any of this to do with BloodBeast? Well, thankfully, they’ve not released Out For Blood on cassette! However, listening to this second album from the band for me has been a trip down Nostalgia Lane to a neighbourhood where the genre still echos of its delightful fledgling days, and experimentation into the most extreme realms of primal human expression was king. It’s not supposed to be pretty to behold. Whilst the sound and atmosphere captured in this album will probably not resonate well with a more youthful generation of metalheads whose ears have been qualified on the high production value of Digital Age modern metal, with perfections acquired by drop-in’s, copy/paste and other nice devices of newer technology and round budgets; it has hit right at home for me. It transports me into a space where the imperfections of circumstance become easily dismissed by – and even complicit to – well-constructed works of raw and ugly, yet beautiful in their transparency, human expression and organicism: A bit like the feeling of settling slowly into a hot bath, but knowing the water came from a mountain spring where a monkey poo’ed and fish shagged in, rather than from the mechanized treatment plant. It is just kind of comforting in an ironically bizarre way, especially considering the awful lyrical content; but then again, it is all about context. Your typical non-metallers, and even some seasoned connoisseurs, would likely find this album utterly atrocious! But therein lays much of the appeal for the rest of us; if one can visualize the eating of moldy blue cheese, or the testicles of a crocodile. What is a delicacy to some is an affront to others! The attitude of the album title sums this sentiment up perfectly.
For more about the awesome artwork of Out For Blood, see our previous post here.
To preview and/or purchase the full album, visit the BloodBeast Bandcamp page. Here is the first single ‘Truth By Torture’, which was released on 23 October, about six weeks prior to the full album’s launch.
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