Putrefaction | ‘Blood Cult’
We may not actually get the apocalypse in 2012, but we appear to have just heard what the soundtrack for it nonethless.
Unbelievably, it’s now 5 whole years since Putrefaction’s “Destroyers” demo crawled its’ way out of the sewers of Dublin. A couple of years playing blinding gigs has increased the legend, but the wait for this debut album has been inexplicably long.
So now that it’s finally here, the fact it’s a mere 7 songs (one less than the demo) initially felt disappointing. But if ever there was a a case of quality over quantity this is it.
Much like the late, great Crowd Control, they dwell in a tiny space where the lines between hardcore punk and (death) metal no longer exist. It could happily be classed as either. Any kind of “punks playing metal” argument is irrelevant here, specifically for that reason.
It’s the music the bad guys from “Mad Max” probably listened to in the stereos of those fucked looking vehicles they used to drive around in. And it has the impact of a shotgun blast to the guts.
Opener “Scourge” sets the scene perfectly. With some slow moody riffing that builds, the trio ease us in before a hideously mangled sounding voice signals the full on D beat charge. Keep an ear out for an absolute killer mid paced riff that pops up a couple of times in this tune that sounds to all intents and purposes like Killing Joke meets Bolt Thrower.
It’s little moments like this, scatter through the songs that keep you coming back for another listen.
The d-beat is the core of this album for sure, but they know how to use it effectively rather than just using it in every song because they don’t know what else to do. They add double bass drums and another killer slower moment, this time of a more Tom Warrior inspired bent, in “Moloch” .
They bookend it with a doomed out riffs in “Feast of Flies” and somehow keep up that mournful tone that opens and closes the track even during the faster sections that make up the bulk of it. And when they stick to a straightforward all speed ahead attack on the likes of “Drown Them In Their Wine” or closer “Freedom Or Annihilation” they still maintain a way with a memorable tune (well, as much as can be expected in this style anyway).
There’s a couple of moments where they try something a little different – “Mouth of the Furnace” for example has a more explicitly black metal element with an almost Beherit feel to the opening section, which sees them at their fastest and most violent.
They take the pedal off the metal later on however for “Dead Streets”, a trip to the other extreme of their sound that deliver a mid paced stomp that comes across like the heaviest slab of straight ahead punk rock you can imagine.
Personally, I found the production a little too clean for my taste at first – it’s not quite the feral mutant that demo was for sure – but a couple of listens helped me adjust to that. In fact listening back to that demo in comparison just serves to show how much the band have developed in terms of both tightness and songwriting.
Sadly the review copy didn’t come with full lyrics or artwork, but having a basic idea of what they’re getting at (the corruption inherent in Ireland’s Church and State),the rage comes through in the sound – albeit in a more controlled manner than you might expect.
There is literally nothing on this record you won’t have heard before: Motorhead, Venom, Master, Discharge, Repulsion, Bolt Thrower..the influences are as clear as day. But it’s what they do with them that makes it work so well.
The affection for the lineage they come from, the quality of the songwriting (seriously, this is one of the catchiest records I’ve heard from a band this brutal in years), and the conviction they play with makes it as infectious as it is enjoyable. There’s no flab on the bones here. Horrible music about horrible things has never sounded so good..
4 / 5 ::: Jamie Grimes 19/5/12