"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Blood Revolt - "Indoctrine" (CD)

Blood Revolt - "Indoctrine" CD cover image

"Indoctrine" track listing:

1. Salvation at the Barrel of a Gun (5:23)
2. Dead City Stare (3:51)
3. Bite the Hand, Purge the Flesh (5:29)
4. God’s Executioner, Praise Be (4:43)
5. My Name in Blood Across the Sky (8:17)
6. Indoctrine (4:10)
7. Year Zero (4:25)
8. The Martyrs Brigade (5:57)

Reviewed by on December 8, 2010

"Blood Revolt’s 'Indoctrine' pushes the limits of extreme metal with an original twist on a tried-and-true formula."

Blood Revolt’s “Indoctrine” pushes the limits of extreme metal with an original twist on a tried-and-true formula. Drummer James Read and guitarist C.Ross have spent plenty of time together in Axis of Advance and Revenge, and this new project simmers with intensity compounded into every static riff and echoing snare. The wild card is dealt by Primordial vocalist A.A. Nemtheanga, whose hopeless posturing and bitter delivery gives credibility to the concept about one man’s descent into madness. The album is a thrill to experience thanks to Nemtheanga’s limitless range and the no-holds-barred tactical sonic devastation.

“Indoctrine” is a clash between vocals and the music itself, a 42-minute war that leaves a trail of casualties in its wake. Blast beats mingle with primal guitar shrieks like best friends at a high school reunion; that is, until the depressed vocals interrupt the conversation with quips like, “The city is dying like a wounded animal.” A clean tone is mainly employed by Nemtheanga, shuttling back and forth between emotional wails and an unnerving spoken word style. Occasionally, a harsh scream will bellow out of his throat. This jarring vocal technique is one of the highlights of the album, a fresh take on the usual cliché of monotone growling and tame yelling.

With this being an extreme metal album, the noise factor is on the high side. When the band is going full throttle, everything meshes into one incoherent blob of aggression. It gets exhausting to keep up with it all, similar to running on a treadmill that continuously increases in speed. The suffocating mood expressed in the lyrics doesn’t help ease these feelings, making for an album that will leave many with a cold reaction. The brilliance of “Indoctrine” is that this seemed like the band’s intentions from the opening chaos of “Salvation at the Barrel of a Gun;” only the strong will survive.

More often than not, the tempos are break-neck, but nestled within a few of the tracks lie well-needed reprieves. Clean guitars are tucked in the background of “Bite the Hand, Purge the Flesh,” while the epic “My Name in Blood Across the Sky” has a lurching, if stretched-out, passage meant to garner anticipation towards a seismic finish. Slowing down every once in a while helps to make the album more than just eight tracks of shapeless pummeling, though there is enough of that to go around on the old-school death metal title track and the forlorn “Dead City Stare.”

Nemtheanga is arguably the most well-known member of the group, but that should change thanks to the performance of Read. His drumming is insane, to say the least. He is the equivalent of a jackhammer left unattended to run wild on a city street; nothing but a powerful display of mayhem. The production emphasizes every hit in a way that doesn’t overwhelm the music. More than C. Ross’s solid guitar work, Read is the foundation that puts the extreme into Blood Revolt’s sound.

This album has been making waves ever since its release. There is nothing like “Indoctrine” out there, and that will scare a lot of people. Putting clean vocals over such unstable death metal is a trippy experiment that pays off. The story that unfolds is gripping and worth having the booklet nearby to follow every line. “Indoctrine” is far from conventional, a fact that does nothing to siphon the impact that Blood Revolt makes on their off-beat debut.

Highs: Clean vocals over extreme metal, drummer James Read is a machine, dark tale of a man dipping into the realm of madness

Lows: "My Name in Blood Across the Sky" is over-long, the clean vocals are out of place in a few of the heavier moments

Bottom line: The oddest debut album in recent memory, "Indoctrine" is a new approach to extreme metal that is brilliant in its execution.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)