They say that when faced with the choice of printing the truth or the legend, print the legend. In the case of “Blood Lust,” from Uncle Acid and the deadbeats, the truth is actually more interesting, but we’ll start with the legend, or rather then concept, first. “Blood Lust” is presented as the soundtrack to a long lost horror movie, passed about on VHS and finally being broadcast on tv and being watched by you, the listener. Recorded on vintage equipment and sounding like it’s being played on an ancient, much worn cassette recorder it certainly has the atmospherics down pat.
“Blood Lust” is actually the work of an unknown, (well uncredited), Cambridge musician, of whom no photos seemingly exist. Uncle Acid, as we”ll have to call him, originally released this lovingly crafted epic of rock hauntology on CD-R last year, followed by a limited vinyl issue on Rise Above Records. The underground went nuts for its of doomy, horror rock thrills and it now finally sees a wider release on Metal Blade Records. The horror rock of Uncle Acid is the very British horror of the 60’s and 70’s. It conjures images of ‘The Wickerman’, medieval babes, and Vincent Price in a crushed velvet cape. In reality of course, horror movies didn’t come with hard rock soundtracks back then and Uncle Acid‘s surprising mixture of glam, doom metal and classic 70’s rock is their own heady concoction.
After the TV channel is found, ‘I’ll Cut You Down’ comes galloping out on a glammy riff, and high, keening witchy twin vocals. As it progresses into the verses one band unexpectedly comes to mind, Toronto’s Black Mountain, no strangers to 70’s styled hard rock with a metal twist, I’m amazed no one else has mentioned the similarities.
‘Deaths Door’ then opens and the jazzy, slow Bill Ward-esque drums leading into a real groovy head-nodder, signaling early on the inevitable spectre of Black Sabbath.
Black Mountain are again called to mind on ‘Over and Over Again’ and highlights Uncle Acid‘s brilliant grasp of melody and has a wonderful extended twin guitar work out at the end. At times, when the guitars are let loose, Neil Young and Crazy Horse seem to be crashing the death party, which isn’t so much of a shock as both Uncle Acid and Black Mountain are admittedly influenced by those grizzly rock veterans.
Like several of the songs ‘I’m Here To Kill You’ (Nice!) sounds like the sort of long lost gem that the Vertigo label used to put out in the 70’s, and although perfectly rendered is perhaps the least interesting thing here. ’13 Candles’, however, is first of the two peaks of the album – a heavy jam with unexpected hints of Slade‘s Noddy Holder in the vocals, once again beguiling with it’s glam tinge. This leads on to ‘Ritual Knife’, the other peak, with a hypnotic riff bringing the story to a dramatic crescendo. The closer ‘Withered Hand of Evil’ has an air of weary resignation, as if aware the evil impulses have ebbed and are sated but still triumphant. It strikes the right chord, with a vaguely melancholy and creepy atmosphere, perfectly encapsulating the end of so many classic horror films. There is much more here than I have mentioned, and every track is an aural treasure trove, the guitar playing in particular is a constant delight, hiding under the fuzzy production.
Incidentally, bonus track ‘down to the fire’ shows another side of Uncle Acid and the deadbeats, acoustic and folky but still full of witchcraft in it’s crackling flames and pagan power in it’s birdsong.
This is an album to treasure. It could have been too cute for it’s own good, too clever and knowing to really love, but “Blood Lust” rises above pastiche and is destined to become a cult classic.