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Narcotic Self - "Blood And Poison" (CD)

Narcotic Self - "Blood And Poison" CD cover image

"Blood And Poison" track listing:

1. Killing You
2. Future Away
3. Who Will Save You Know
4. Smashed Fate
5. From Within
6. We Fade Away
7. Behind These Eyes
8. Nothing To Realize
9. Tell No One
10. Illusion

Reviewed by on December 7, 2006

"'Who Will Save You Now' is delivered straight ahead in a take no prisoner fashion with a blast beat explosiveness and laser-like guitar shredding. "

Blood And Poison is the third self-released full length from this deadly focused metal unit out of Omaha, Nebraska. The opening track 'Killing You' is a pummeling and abrasive start that has lead vocalist Jesse Dean digging into a deep well of heavy singing influences, most notably Pantera's legendary Phil Anselmo. Rick Halverson on drums sells the song with his machine-like double bass kicking, joined by the precision-like lead guitar work from Douglas Houston Taylor. It's actually nice for once to be able to hear the bass guitar in the mix and Chris Scott holds it down rock steady.

The second track 'Future Away' finds Dean howling "The only thing you ever love was trying to kill the pain" and is matched in outright intensity by his bandmates on their seemingly possessed instruments. The third track "Who Will Save You Now" is delivered straight ahead in a take no prisoner fashion with a blast beat explosiveness and laser-sharp guitar shredding. The song seems to gain momentum all throughout up to the very end that offers a mosh-inspiring arrangement with Dean screaming "Who Will Save You Now?" Track four is "Smashed Fate" and easily turns all of their anger up several notches with Dean's next eerie blood curdling line: "My body feels an exclamation sustained by rejections felt so long ago".

Track five "From Within" is a bit more timid of an opener and has Dean doing the patented Anselmo deep voiced 'talk-sing' introduction and sounds a lot like Layne Staley and Alice In Chains with its vocal harmonies, which is actually a cool change for once. The guitar solo offered up isn't going to put Zakk Wylde out of his day job but it's well-structured and mixes perfectly into the tune's final section which gets us back to where we want to be with a crushing pit starter riff. Track six "We Fade Away" is easily the best song offered up at this point, starting out slowly and methodically with some moody guitar feedback and then kicks out the stops with a seemingly possessed Dean battling his demons with his most inspired screaming and certainly harkens back to a great time in metal with Pantera's Vulgar Display Of Power. Even the drums and guitar here sound as if Dimebag and Vinnie Paul stepped into the studio to make sure the job got done right. This soon leads us all back to the strange, drowned out sounds of feedback that we were initially met with.

Track seven "Behind These Eyes" actually takes this band to where it needs to be at all times if they plan to be accepted in the toughest and most critical metal circles. It has a very ominous guitar and bass rhythm married with one seriously crushing drum structure that you'll only hear currently from a few other bands like Devildriver. Track eight "Nothing To Realize" is the fastest track out the gate and sounds thrashier than any of the other material before it and leads one to believe that these guys certainly have the potential to be one of the fiercest acts around as long as they continue to write stuff like this. Track nine 'Tell No One' opens with a what sounds like a group of young boys in church choir who are about to be exposed to the harshness of life reality and it's unfortunate that the band didn't captalize more on this with a heavier approach to back it up. Instead they return to the Alice In Chains influence. The band definitely stays with the same less-is-more way of thinking on the final track "Illusions," which is an instrumental, both brooding and dark, yet seemingly more of a time for reflection on what you've heard from the entire piece of impressive metal music from a young band that already seems beyond its years.

Highs: The first half of Blood And Poison is about as good as it gets in the metal game

Lows: It tends to lose its punch at the end of it all, despite trying to be articulate and well thought out.

Bottom line: With influences ranging from Pantera to Alice In Chains, Narcotic Self thankfully never gets caught up in the current emo metal trend.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

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)