Thursday, 11 November 2010

Albums that influenced Oliver #2 : Bloodlet - Entheogen/The Seraphim Fall (1996/98)

It was a hard choice to make as I have always, ALWAYS, insisted on The Seraphim Fall as the most important Bloodlet album to myself. But then after several months reacquainting my ears with Entheogen I realised that they both had pretty important reasons for being on here and finally after wussing out I decided to post both.

Bloodlet became known to me through those Victory Records sampler CD's, number 3 to be exact ( same place I discovered Integrity, Snapcase, Earth Crisis and Deadguy ). It was "Dogman With Horns" of Seraphim... that I first heard. I didn't understand it at all. The production was so lo-fi and murky, the vocals didn't seem to suit the music, it had this weird allover the place groove that I just couldn't get my head around. It didn't make much of an impression on me. Then on a trip to Vinyl Exchange in Manchester I picked up the album they did prior, Entheogen, out of interest wondering if it was going to be any different. That's when it clicked.

I loved everything about this album. The vocals had this nasty, twisted atmosphere to them that at first seemed odd but perfectly suited the way these songs lumbered out the speakers. Still heavily indebted to the whole metal/hardcore chug that Victory was renowned for in those days (before it went) but spiced up with twisted pinch notes and odd timings and a whole load of dissonance. But the single most important thing about this record for me was the fretless bass playing of Art Legere. That is what sealed it in the hall of fame for me. The bass just seemed to snake under the chugging and harmonies, the intro to "Eucharist" still gets me these days.
It was about a year later that I managed to get hold of The Seraphim Fall. After listening to the track of the sampler on repeat for what seemed like weeks I thought I was ready to face this album. Having spent so long with Entheogen I felt I had a good enough understanding of Bloodlet to give it a second chance.

It was the production that hit me at first, it was so murky and lo-fi. Almost sounding like it had never been mastered properly. Being the geeky and stubborn minded fan I was, I stuck with it for weeks before one morning when due to a delayed train I had time to listen from start to finish with no interruptions.
All of a sudden the production made sense. It snared you in with the quietly mixed acoustic parts before the almost, subliminal heaviness of the guitars came crashing down and all the while that translucent bass tone was scaling up and down the fretboard like crazy. All the odd chords, strange lyrics, dissonance and weird interludes just made it so much more important to me than anything else I was listening to at the time. I knew no one who was into this. It was my find. I absorbed as much as I could from that album. Hunted for any more information on Bloodlet that I could find. I wanted to know everything about it. Still a very under rated album and certainly one the band never managed to better in my opinion. There are links to both above. Two very important and influential albums to me.

 ( These where the fashions of the time. Blond dreads and shelltoes.)

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