Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats – Blood Lust (2012)
Of all the bands I saw at MDF 2014, this was the one that was the biggest surprise, in a good way. While other acts tried their damnedest to bludgeon you to death with heaviness and speed, here was Uncle Acid, whose music is the music of grainy horror movies, foggy graveyards, and dark, smoky pubs.
Their restrained, loose, medium approach to doom metal was a distinct break from the rest of the festival, the kind of band our parents would have gone to see. And it wasn’t just because they use vintage equipment.
1. I’ll Cut You Down
2. Death’s Door
3. Over and Over Again
4. Curse In the Trees
5. I’m Here To Kill You
6. 13 Candles
7. Ritual Knife
8. Withered Hand of Evil
9. Down to the Fire
The lovely character this album is about is introduced in “I’ll Cut You Down,” with a playful bass line and tom-tom that sounds like him stomping down the stairs: bum, bum, bum, bum, bum. To go out for a pint, probably…or several.
The next seven songs are about his adventures in sadism, all backed by delicious, shadowy grooves on every instrument. Uncle Acid’s clean vocals float through a violet haze, shimmering as they go. The guitar solos are understated and no-frills–lots of finger mutes, pinches, and feedback.
A live highlight when I saw Uncle Acid was “Death’s Door,” and it’s still my favorite song of theirs. The gentle tap, finger-snap of hi-hat and a slow-building groove establish an enjoyable atmosphere of horrific romp. And the bonus track, “”Down to the Fire,” describes our character’s just fate for his unquenchable Blood Lust against a masterful acoustic backdrop.
“I’m Here to Kill You” captures the spirited free-form of yesteryear, and “Over and Over Again” is the most instantly fun kick of the record. But the instrumentals also have a darker, sinister side: the torture scenes in “Ritual Knife” and “Curse In the Trees,” with evil John Lennon vocals. Strings and organ accompany the night-time stroll through the black trees in “Withered Hand of Evil.”
“It was kind of a surprise to everyone that the album took off the way it did,” says Kevin Starrs. “We hope you enjoy the violent garbage contained in this compact music disc.”
Blood Lust was enough to get Uncle Acid booked as Black Sabbath’s opening act on their European reunion tour, a spot well-deserved for such a well-executed effort I won’t say they “saved” doom metal–because that would imply the subgenre was doing poorly, which it isn’t. But Uncle Acid has certainly galvanized the fanbase with a full-throated celebration of heavy psychedelia.
Kevin Starrs (Uncle Acid)
Written by Matt P