Amidst the streams of asinine tripe we’ve been subjected to from heavy music in the past few years, it’s something to be thankful for that occult rock is enjoying something of a resurgence these days. Despite not having a strict “sound” so to speak, it’s always a pleasure when a band comes out of the woodwork that’s somewhat other-worldly in their modus operandi, from the more theatrical, mainstream stylings of Ghost to the genuinely bizarre full on Satan worship of The Devil’s Blood. But if there’s one band that seem to be literally on another planet than the rest of us, it’s Cambridgeshire’s Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, who’s debut Blood Lust you’d be forgiven for thinking was an old unreleased relic from the 70’s.
From the second you hear the sound of a television being switched on during the intro to ‘I’ll Cut You Down’ you can picture the setting, almost smell it even. The nameless Deadbeats congregated in a dingy squat, perched upon empty ale crates while the wood on the walls rots away around them, circled around Uncle Acid himself, their conductor of sorts in a quest for complete obliteration of the human mind. The fuzzed up, Sabbath-cum-Uriah Heep riffs he compels them to create are the soundtrack to his tales of “murder, lust and horror”. It’s quite an image, and a powerful one at that…but are the tunes any good? Well, that depends on your viewpoint. From a purely musical perspective, it’s nothing you’ve not heard before, with the likes of Electric Wizard having already peddled this riff-based 70’s worship for years, but there’s a subtle hint of psychedelia to the likes of ‘Curse In The Trees’ and the brain-melting ‘Ritual Knife’ (which thankfully see’s them break out into more unfamiliar territory just before the standard doom riffs become a little tiresome), helped in no small part by an Uncle Acid vocal performance far more in the vein of Jack Bruce than Ozzy Osbourne.
Frankly, there’s nothing particularly wrong with Blood Lust as a whole, but it’s difficult to tell if their operation is merely a shtick or their aim is to literally dehumanize the mind. If it’s the latter, then unfortunately much of the material on Blood Lust traverses far too familiar waters to offer any real enlightenment of sorts. But the lo-fi production does give them an edge beyond their more glossy peers, which by extension makes their distinctly retro sound a little more authentic. But generic blues metal aside, Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats have certainly gotten our attention simply through the mystique they’ve adopted, and with a new album on the way (going befittingly by the name Mind Control), there is hope in abundance on this debut that their attempts to manipulate the psyche will hold some real weight. Anyone got any tin foil?
Blood Lust is out now via Metal Blade/Rise Above
1. I’ll Cut You Down
2. Death’s Door
3. Over And Over Again
4. Curse In The Trees
5. I’m Here To Kill You
6. 13 Candles
7. Ritual Knife
8. Withered Hand Of Evil
9. Down To The Fire – Bonus
Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats are: