Saturday, May 24, 2014

…because I am twisted…because I am sick: BLOOD FARMERS – ‘Headless Eyes’

Blood Farmers are back! Despite almost a two decade long gap between releases New York’s peddlers of noisy, horror-themed doom have managed to top both their amazing self-titled debut and excellent 1991 demo, ‘Permanent Brain Damage’, with the long awaited ‘Headless Eyes’. Drawing influence from the cult 1971 film of the same name—particularly the album’s art direction and the title track—‘Headless Eyes’ is ultimately more subdued than their previous efforts and the album is all the stronger for it. The six tracks of their latest are more expansive than anything the band has previously released and the compositions, though still heavy and twisted, untangle and unfurl into new and horrific territories.

The opening track, “Gut Shot”, is about as strong of an album-opener as one could hope for complete with a memorably classic build-up. Swells of feedback are punctuated by sloth-like drums and heavy, lurching riffs. Tortured bellows are replaced by maniacal laughs before a razor sharp lead capable of cutting glass carves its way into the din. Initially a lurching beast “Gut Shot” eventually gains momentum resulting in a weighty, snail-like groove. A definite album highlight.

The title track, “Headless Eyes”, draws its inspiration directly from the cult film of the same name. Eli Brown’s vocals echo the depraved and psychotic musings of Arthur Malcolm, a perverse individual with a penchant for killing women and carving out their eyes with a spoon. The song ebbs and flows between softer psychedelic segments anchored by the rhythm section accompanied by wah pedal accented guitar and roaring passages of distortion. Despite the near eleven minute runtime “Headless Eyes” is neither bloated nor tedious. There are enough changes in tempo to keep things interesting and, as if in homage to the masters, the band injects the tune with an upbeat blast of shredding that is akin to the last couple of minutes of “War Pigs”.

Stellar drumming, great vocals, and inventive riffs and amazing leads with killer guitar tone are nothing new for Blood Farmers, but the band has clearly matured and the resulting six compositions are some of the best tunes released this year. ‘Headless Eyes’ is perhaps the band’s most “traditional” sounding doom album to date, but it manages to match hooks with heft while still opening the doors to other dimensions. The instrumental “Night of the Sorcerers” tastefully incorporates synths resulting in a slightly creepy, prog-rock influenced jam suitable for inclusion on a 70’s Italian horror film soundtrack. Fans of Goblin or Blizaro will find a lot to dig on this track. Not content to end the experimentation there, the band close out the album with “The Road Leads to Nowhere”, a poignant cover of David Hess’ “Wait for the Rain”.

Hopefully it will not be another decade before we hear from Blood Farmers again, let alone two, as the band have clearly crafted a contender for album-of-the-year. ‘Headless Eyes’ is as addictive as it is heavy. Hopefully there will be an upcoming vinyl release around the corner. In the meantime, order ‘Headless Eyes’ directly from the band HERE.

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