Any self-respecting noise fan knows of Chicago's BloodLust! record label. Run by Bloodyminded/Anatomy of Habit/The Fortieth Day/A Vague Disquiet/Intrinsic Action frontman (and the sharpest dressed man in the experimental scene) Mark Solotroff, BloodLust! has been a consistent source in the finest in sex-and-crimes-driven, violent power electronics, industrial, noise, and the like. Having released material by Prurient, Envenomist, and, of course, Bloodyminded, one would never suspect BloodLust! to become a haven to metal acts, aside from a 1996 release of Dead World's Thanatos Descends, and before the turn of the new decade, one would have assumed correctly.
The year 2010 marked a new milestone in BloodLust! history: the release of its first metal album since 1996, namely Locrian's Territories. Though the label had put forth other Locrian releases (Plague Journal, Rhetoric of Surfaces, and Drenched Lands), the undeniable black metal elements of Territories placed it in its own category in the BloodLust! catalog. Aside from a Plague Bringer single, featuring former Revolting Cocks member Chris Connelly, BloodLust! kept from releasing another metallic album until late 2011, manifesting itself as experimental doom metal 5 piece Rabid Rabbit's massive Czarny Sen, followed shortly thereafter by progressive metal band Arriver's debut full-length Tsushima.
|Rabid Rabbit's "Czarny Sen"|
At the other end...Czarny Sen is a challenging piece of music. Though rooted in sludgy, doomy goodness, Rabid Rabbit aren't afraid to wear their love for avant-garde music on their sleeves. Album centerpiece (and longest tune) "Suicide Song," which was originally recorded as part of the Experimental Sound Studios Chicago Audio Grant, is a highly improvised track, basing itself in bizarre, non-instrument sounds and alien atmospheres. With assistance from friend and labelhead Mark Solotroff as well as free-jazz masters Bruce Lamont, Dave Rempis, and Michael Zerang, it should be inferred the bizarre nature of "Suicide Song" is only the tip of the iceberg, and I demand that you take the plunge on this one. One wouldn't expect it, but the modern "city of sludge" has its roots in the avant-garde (read George E. Lewis's A Power Stronger Than Itself for more information), so this Sleep-meets-Ornette Coleman hybrid is by far the strongest example of Chicago's musical heritage over the past fifty years. Surprising, huh? Rumor has it the special edition of this LP, which is wrapped in wax-sealed, screen-printed black tar paper is still available, and it's worth every penny. Czarny Sen might not be for the faint of heart, but if you're feeling especially adventurous I'd recommend giving this one a spin - I've almost worn through my copy!
170th release. Fans of the Czech Republic's newly reformed !T.O.O.H.!'s dismissal of genre expectation should take note.
BloodLust!'s transformation from the secluded noise mecca of old to a haven for Chicago's underground experimental scene, be it of the noise or metal persuasion, has definitely been a successful one, and with little sign of pulling back. Expect an LP from drum machine-worshipping experimental/industrial metal freaks Sun Splitter this summer.
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