BY MIKE SHANLEY
Metallic Taste of Blood doesn’t sound quite as ugly as the name might imply. Granted, this is heavy music, with sub-sub woofer bass and distorted guitar roaring over rock-solid slabs of drumming. But sweet, nearly pretty moments come through the morass too, like rays of sunlight fighting through thick clouds.
Eraldo Bernocchi, half of the brain power behind the UK imprint RareNoise Records, plays guitar in the instrumental unit. Drummer Ted Parsons (formerly of Swans, Prong and numerous others) and bassist Colin Edwin fill out the band, with keyboardist Roy Powell bringing extra atmosphere to a few songs. Edwin and Parsons take care of most of the heavy lifting, setting up thick riffs that offer a foundation for Bernocchi’s textures. Tempos reside primarily in the 60 bpm territory, not quite plodding (though the final track could be considered as such), and always tight. At times Edwin’s bass could nearly be considered the lead instrument, since he plays out front, while Bernocchi colors the scenery. Things get interesting when the guitarist adds some lead skronk to “Ipsissimus” after being sure the scene has been set.
Call it metal, call it prog, call it space rock — Metallic Taste of Blood sounds like all of the above. The breakdown in the title track recalls Pink Floyd stretching out at Pompeii. Ambient guitars start to shimmer at the start of “Blind Voyeur,” giving way a little later to bent notes filtered through the distortion.
However, when taking eight tracks of it in one sitting, things start to sound predictable. They set up a series of well-executed riffs with the occasional breakdown at the mid-point, taking the place of verse-chorus structures of songs where vocals would appear. As much as Parsons’ metronomic discipline can be admired, he could have really wowed us with some frantic fills here and there. One, just one, radically uptempo track would have been a well-deserved respite from the heft of the others.
DOWNLOAD: “Pashupati,” “Doctoring the Dead.”