Rhys Bloodjoy. Just the name conjures up everything that it should. This is no-wave aggression with goth-static feedback and a psychedelic twist of industrial noise. It’s blast, an assault, it’s a charm. At its best it’s a glaze of Alec Empire agro, a decedent of Alan Vega’s church of repetition, where the energy and force of metronomic blasts blend with free-form guitar wail and synths. Repulsive, relentless, and joyfully so, the opening tracks attack senses.
‘Death By Succubus‘ guides us in easy. A treble heavy hum of distortion and scrawl hangs around like a drone that engulfs you, like an internal itch you can’t shake. Who’d have guessed from these sounds that the track would wind out into 60s garage rock psychedelia? Backing vocals howl pretty in a mass of effects, we break down to ‘Rubber Soul‘ reversed guitars that ring out with distinct eastern influence. And while I’m busy working out how these parts joined up, we slam back to the heat of the mess.
‘Suck’ comes down hard on its heels. That treble hinged fuzz finds a bass line to play with and it’s pure cinematic aggression. But here still are those sounds in the background; the wah-wah and wain of The Electric Prunes, the dirt of early Death In Vegas, and again that synth-sitar effect. It’s a tough mess of sounds to get lost in, with abstract low vocals that shimmer all over and a pulse that just never gives up.
We don’t return to this calibre of blood(joy) soaked noise until we gloss through the worst of the album. While sonically fine and blissfully thick, there’s a labour of overused tropes. The mix of metal and Celt never caught me, the overworked imagery of beard addled forests and dark magic mystic, it’s painfully obvious and worn. It’s a shame. It’s the steel-booted tiptoe through genre and play that made those opening tracks so engaging. As for ‘Birth Canal Contemplation Blues‘, while an excellent title for a Screamin’ Jay Hawkins track, here it’s a B-side at best.
Bloodjoy redeems with ‘Celebration’, a welcome return to that unholy noise and distortion that recalls that first Suicide album. With a trash guzzling grit we hammer home single riffs ‘til they’re threadbare and stretched to their innards. The video that goes with is a lysergic nightmare of colour and glitch as it twitches to pressurised noise, we’re right back to ambiguous anger. Infernal Regions is the true album closer, it exhales with a gristle and grind. On its own it is far from the star of the show but as (almost) last act it given needed release.
This album is not perfect, far from it. Chaos and noise rarely is. But the best of these tracks make the purchase all worth it and it’s out soon on bloody red vinyl.
‘Human.Pattern.Repeat’ is out now to stream and order on vinyl. Or you watch the whole album below, released as a full album movie.
Find the best of these tracks and others from Rats On The Run featured artists right here on Rats On Run Radio.