I’ve followed Krieg since the early days. I always liked how Krieg brought a good chunk of Norway’s blackened sonic grimness to the Mid Atlantic. Neill Jameson, of Krieg fame, has come together to with Jenks Miller of Horseback to put together a raw-yet-laminous collection of 8 songs under the moniker Poison Blood. You are not going to be disappointed.
If you like your black metal raw, this is for you. There’s no real “gaze” here – no Ray Bans or corporate-contrived cultural appropriation. That was dropped off somewhere in the Northern sections of Brooklyn. Rather, think early Darkthrone compounded with the more experimental Burzum records (ok not the RIDICULOUS experimental Burzum records) and blended with a heavy helping of Finland’s Beherit from their early to mid 90’s years. In fact, the Beherit influence is going to be the first thing to hit you as you play the first track, “The Scourge and the Gestalt.” It’s got the fuzz, the vocals and the aggression of these influences but then it integrates a perfect amount of electronica to this added dimension to the layers of sound. It is electronic – but not TOO electronic. Think of it as the seasoning to the entrée.
“Deformed Lights” and “Myths from the Desert” are the real standouts for me. These tracks use some experimental guitar sounds and effects that give these cuts some rather unique twists in your ear. You aren’t expecting these brief sounding gems in the heavy bed of distorted vocals and punk sludge, and frankly, that’s one of the reasons why these tracks work so well. On the one hand, you’re going to be familiar with the general sound of the compositions if you’re a fan of the composers’ existing work. On the other hand there are little snippets of unique instrumentation that are added throughout that make the tracks entirely unique. I love the guitar work at about 1:26 into “Myths” that continues to the end of the track. Add in a touch of keys, and you’re now listening to the finalized crescendo of the song that’s going to take you in some many different emotional dimensions… from angry… to sad… to hopeful… to mere contemplation.
Punk rage comes right at you in the sixth cut, “Shelter Beneath the Sea.” It’s an aggressive track that makes all of the use of its 51 seconds. It’s followed by “From the Lash” which picks up where “Shelter” left off. In fact, there’s a good amount of rage and frustration in all the songs and Neill’s vocals really send this track home. I’ll say it here – this is some of Neill’s best vocal work.
“Circles of Salt” is a brilliant instrumental that mixes 80’s new wave with some classic punk bass and a touch of second wave Scandinavian black vocals. The guitar that comes three minutes into the song gives that additional dimension of textural development as the cut progresses into this perfect mix of beauty and horror. It’s the alpha and the omega in a sea of Robert Smith-infused Brit punk with a dab of Jerry Only . A perfect ending to this record.
You’re going to get 19 minutes of raw electronic richness with Poison Blood; maybe the perfect length for this duo at this point. The record is prosperity and beauty. It is melancholy and caliginous. Through it all, it pushes boundaries. You haven’t heard this before.