I Will Cut Your Heart Out For This by Bloody Knives (Saint Marie Records)
Bloody Knives are an Austin, Texas band consisting of singer / bassist Preston Maddox, Jake McCown on drums, Kim Calderon as the Sound Manipulator and Christo Buffam (also in Dead Leaf Echo) on guitars and keyboards. Something clicked in my mind after hearing them and I quickly bought all their available music after hearing a song on the Static Waves 4 compilation from Saint Marie Records. Bloody Knives combine noise and melody like few bands I’ve heard before. Maddox’s bass is often high in the mix, his vocal delivery coasts over the chaos, and while at first sounds cold amidst the fast paced rock’n’roll, is actually carrying much of the melodic content of the song. After some getting used to, the listener realizes that each song is catchy, noisy, fast, gauzy, dangerous and pretty, usually in equal measure. There are not too many bands I can say are unique in their sound, yet Bloody Knives comes from a different place.
On their sixth album I Will Cut Your Heart Out For This, the band are more forceful then ever, starting with the propulsive and angry Cystic, Maddox’s voice, while still low in the mix, echoes with purpose, and when the vocals drop out, you can imagine the slam pit widening and the floors shaking as the band go full throttle with guitar fuzz, breakneck percussion and wall rattling bass. (Excuse me as I turn up the speaker volume.) There’s a lot of sounds going on within Blood Turns Cold, Buffam’s clarion guitars cut through the miasmic swells of noise and cymbal crashes, his keyboards and Calderon’s effects swirling around your skull until you just close your eyes and take it all in, letting the music toss you around. Reflection Lies keeps up the energy with pummeling percussion, thrumming bass and careening guitarish noises like locusts eating at your ears. Maddox’s buried vocals come in and introduce just a hint of melody, and you can’t help but dance and soak in the horrible beauty.
Black Hole begins with spacey shimmering synths and echoes before McCown and Maddox’s rhythm joins in, Maddox’s vocals phase left and right, like an old recording from a lost spaceship, the music dipping and diving, drawing you in, then the bass turns on the engines and you’re bouncing and pogoing around the room (or is that just me?) Static has a more serious edge to it, like Maddox is trying to convey something important, the song a charcoal-grey collection of Pornography-Era Cure goth and angst, yet the guitars convey a strength that is positively a joy to hear.
Closing track Buried Alive could very well be Bloody Knives’ heaviest song yet, with double bass kicks and a strident beat from McCown, industrial vibrations, textured guitar work and a metal spirit. The final third of the song contains some churchy keyboards under the violent drama, a fitting ending to a thrilling album.
(Review by Bret Miller)