At the start of the year Blood Church were a relatively unknown commodity. The four piece satanic death metallers from a sleepy Shropshire town had not long formed and entered the Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses competition very much as underdogs. When the full line up of bands was announced there were few who predicted they'd go far in the competition this year. How wrong could we all be?
The competition saw the band go from strength to strength, through heats, semi finals and the onto the grand final they blew audience members, judges and promoters away. What were we witnessing and where had these guys come from. Despite coming close they didn't quite make it to Bloodstock this year, i have every faith they will in the future, and thus have been working on their first recorded release, due out at the end of August.
Entitled 'God Complex', the four track E.P. encompasses the bands mission statement against organised religion and how it has corrupted humanity. The question now is how does the bands theatrical, atmospheric live show translate to the recorded format?
Opening track 'We Are Blood Church' answers the question perfectly. The slow tolling bell forges images in our mind and reminds me a lot of wrestling star The Undertakers entrance music. Complete darkness, a low tolling bell and then slowly raising atmospheric sounds. After some chanting in Latin the words echo out "We Are Blood Church".
The background riff from the eerie intro continues on into the introduction of 'Closer?'. But things soon change, with the volume ramped up to 11 all four members of the band kick in, aggressive riffs, throbbing bass lines and Chris Thomas' howling vocals come together in a cacophony of dark death metal madness, verging on black metal at times.
Following on 'Jesus Wept' starts with a steady bass solo and a ramping up of lighter thrashy guitars. The sound completely different from that of the previous tracks. A minute in and Thomas lets out a scream that changes the tone and tempo of this track, from a melodic thrashy number to out and out black metal. Low slung notes and even lower heavy vocals reverberate your very soul, this is dark indeed.
The final track of the E.P., 'False Idols', demonstrates fully the work of drummer Chris Massey as a barrage of noise hits the listener. Throughout the four songs the group show they are willing to experiment, to push the boundaries of themselves and the fan base, This isn't black metal, thrash or even death metal. The sound is an amalgamation of the three with pace and sound variations throughout that highlight the bands technical range. Not quite a master piece, but for a debut release its not far off!