Review: BLUTFLECK – Bloodstain
Written by Elliot John Doe
Blutfleck were at the forefront of the Horror Metal genre in the Wellington underground scene, quite possibly the entire scope of New Zealand. Quite frankly, they’re hosting more gore drenched performances and enough shock rock to give any blood splattered household name a run for their money.
Unfortunately, their recent demise has left the Blutfleck fan base wanting more. Though they did not just disappear without a word, if anything they ended on quite a big bang; with their last show being the long awaited album release that had been promised for some time. So in memoriam and celebration of the meat covered, blood-soaked, entrail donning 5-piece band – we take a look at their final opus: Bloodstain.
The packaging for the physical copies of the album came in a peculiar fashion. You can get a downloadable version from the Bandcamp page, but they also put out some limited edition USB sticks with the album and booklet with it. What’s peculiar is that it’s in the shape of severed thumb neatly packaged in a biohazard slip bag. So much creativity and care has gone into this masterpiece, before you even plug the USB in and hear the first note you can already feel the blood, sweat and tears the band have put in over the years – to give back to the fans something this special deserves a hats off to the band.
Blutfleck pull no punches as they come pounding in with opening track of the album, ‘Thirst (Can You Taste It).’ Full of goth-metal lead guitars and a great mixture of clean and growling vocals from front-woman Kashmir Jackson, the track is also filled out with heavy bass and driving drums – a brilliant opener and completely well rounded track.
Secondly, we have ‘PusWorm,’ which contains some catchy riffs and accented drums that really make it all stand out. Plus, the added surprise of a groove-laden bass solo which brings something different to this song, all wrapped in haunting vocals, making this a very well put together number.
‘A Coward’s Tale’ does exactly what it says on the label, it tells us a story and Blutfleck have managed to carry that across on this one both musically and vocally; the song has a great sense of classic metal fused with fantasy and mythology, filled with perfectly matched guitars and bass then carried to the outro with twin lead guitars to end this epic tale.
‘Oxytocin’ blasts your ear drums with some exciting riffs and contagious death growls, smartly placed double kick pedals, and flowing bass lines give this metal guitar driven track the versatility it requires, making it a stand out Blutfleck song. Midway through it drops out to a delicate pace and gets a bit experimental, almost jazz like before crushing it once more in an insane outro.
‘Regiment’ begins with some sampled helicopter sounds then builds up with pounding drums, bass and guitars before you’re pulled in by the vocals of Kashmir half singing half screaming: “Attention!” Even though this track is full of chunky riffs and death growls it harks a little more of a contemporary melody that makes for great hooks to get stuck in your head, it’s very catchy. As always the band mixes it up musically by adding some chugging that picks up the pace in the middle and get nice and sludgy towards the end, throwing out some crazily warped background screaming and droning guitars.
‘Silver Spoon’ creates some beautiful atmospherics as the guitar fades in with some floating delay and the bass riff kicks it up with some crunchy distortion. Quite a rock fueled number that keeps the pace going throughout with an infectious lead guitar riff on the outro. My one and only criticism on this whole collection is that this song fades out too abruptly.
‘Burial At Sea’ has some more intro samples, waves breaking, seagulls squawking and then Blutfleck come crashing in with an ocean swaying beat filling your ears with more of the fantastical essence they create so well. As this track nears its end we are treated to a modern goth rock sea shanty that has some amazingly beautiful harmonies, the drums build it all up for the final crescendo that is overflowing with power vocals, guitar leads and expertly placed drum fills.
‘Squatting in a Butchery’ is downright dirty, sludgy and catchy with very metal guitars, double kicks, and screams, full to the brim with blood, guts and gore – much like a butchery and we couldn’t ask for anything more from this band.
The final track ‘Luna’ starts with some thunderstorm effects, background strings and a demonic narrative until ballad-esque guitar lead and simplistic driving bass set the stage for this dark eponymous epic. Drums that resembled a tribal sound fool our ears before taking this song to the depths of hell for an unholy blast beat section. Once again mixing it all up and bringing it back to a slower tempo and adding in some wolf howls just as the last track takes its eventual breath.
Kashmir, Bex, Kate, Izzy and Ricky (bar 1 or 2 lineup changes over the years) have created nothing short of a masterpiece here, an amazing and well-rounded collection of songs, bringing something for everyone and combining all their influences into one giant bubbling cauldron, it’s just a shame that there will be no more Blutfleck to grace New Zealand stages with their gore filled theatrics and bring the album to life, yet their legacy lives on in this exceedingly brilliant release. I’m sure we’ll be seeing great things from these artists in other projects sometime soon, R.I.P Blutfleck. 10/10.