Sound — 9
Based on the credentials of those involved, Metallic Taste Of Blood's self titled debut promised interesting things. Led by guitarist and producer Eraldo Bernocchi, the group features Porcupine Tree bassist Colin Edwin, along with drummer Balazs Pandi and keyboardist Jamie Saft, alumni of Venetian Snares and John Zorn, respectively. The first release by this new project is definitely attention grabbing. The sounds range from funky synth driven syncopations to noisy and intense jamming that borders on free jazz. Most often, heavy and industrial grooves dominate this album. The track "King Cockroach" is a nice example of a few of these things all in one song. Another song of note is "Crystals And Wounds", one of the most melodic tracks on the album. The keys lead the melody with Bernocchi's droning guitars filling out the ambience, which is all secondary to the tight and jazzy groove that Pandi and Edwin lay down. Edwin's bass is nice and audible for virtually all of the album, and Pandi has a great sense of time as well as a seemingly natural feel for when to stay in the pocket and when to let loose with more complex playing (as he does on the opener, for example). A strong opening track is usually essential to having a tight sounding album, and "Sectile" delivers, as one of the strongest compositions and my personal favorite on the album. Right away, the listener gets a strong sense of what the record is going to be about. The band has debuted with that rarer and rarer achievement of creating a unique sound. However, due to the angularity and dissonance utilized so heavily on the album, it may be off-putting to listeners who don't listen to any "noise" bands or industrial. However, for me, it is only growing stronger with each listen.
Lyrics — 8
As the album is instrumental, there are no lyrics or vocals. However, the track titles are very cool. Titles like "Glass Chewer" and "King Cockroach" bring some interesting images to mind. The image on the cover conveys many different lyrical impressions to me. I'm not sure how this album would have sounded with vocals. Depending on the style of the vocalist, it likely would have swayed the band's nebulous sound in one direction or another (jazz, metal, industrial). But since the ambiguity and unresolved quality of the album is one of it's strengths, this would not necessarily be a good thing.
Overall Impression — 9
For as heavy as parts of this album are, it still manages to feel restrained. And for as dissonant and bleak as some the tracks feel, there is still quite a lot of melody present. There really weren't any weak tracks apparent on the first few listens, but "Sectile", "Transverse", "Schizopolis", and "King Cockroach" stood out to me right away. Perhaps one small critique for this album though is that the tracks tend to blend together after a while. It's simply a matter of the listener's taste as to whether this is just a mark of how focused and refined the album's vision is or indicates a lack of dynamics. The latter conclusion seems unlikely yo me. I would recommend this to fans of Kayo Dot, John Zorn, and any post-bands, especially ISIS or Cult Of Luna. The vibe of "Transverse", the closing track, feels like it could have been an outtake from ISIS' "Wavering Radiant". At the band's website, you can listen to "Sectile", "King Cockroach", and "Crystals And Wounds". These three tracks are a great litmus test as to whether or not you'd enjoy the rest of the album.