Review Summary: A soundtrack to the Apocalypse. A fruity experimental apocalypse.
You stumble into the kitchen your eyes glazed over in a manner that would embarrass a wedding cake the mind fixated on one thing and one thing only. The quest to make the world’s best alcoholic hodgepodge mix.
The shelves and cupboards of your dilapidated hovel reveal their contents, A dash of Heineken, a thimble of Vodka, the dregs of leftover Bailey’s that appear to have congealed into a sticky mass and various other unpronounceable beverages you procured during that weekend in Budapest. If it looks like it can kill brain cells and induce memory loss you use it. Soon your quest is almost complete, the ultimate elixir of booze is upon you but before you can taste you spy another ingredient and it is your downfall. Somebody has left a small bottle of paraquat behind the Domestos. Your mind can process that including Domestos in the wonder mix is deadly but paraquat? Paraquat sounds exotic and enticing like a herb from Borneo. You foolishly add it and end up an unresponsive corpse a few minutes later.
The Blood of Heroes is the result of such a journey but unlike the unhappy ending above somebody had paid attention in Chemistry class and avoided searing neck pain followed by a one way trip to judgement by Dino-Jesus.
I will readily admit to two things before I try the serious review business
1. I only initially decided to listen to this album on the basis of the truly excellent cover
2. I had never heard any of the collaborators on this project before hand.
And indeed why would I have. I live in the safe lands of Hayley Williams, Dave Mustaine and Emily Haines. They provide for my musical needs, delving into foreign fields is a risky and dangerous proposition, what if I come back scarred!
With The Blood of Heroes the land is varied and unpredictable. One minute you are in the realm of industrial ambience with “Chains”, the next the terrain is carpeted with Drum and Bass mixed with reggae rapping in the form of “Salute to the Jugger”. Pausing is not an option you must push onward to the crushing march of “Transcendent” and the strange familiarity of “Remains” (which evoked memories of an old RTS game called Warzone 2100, apt really considering the aforementioned apocalyptic undertones). The rest of the album throws up its own unique mark to boot, nothing here could be described as safe or copy and paste and by the time you end with “Drift” a song which is in essence the entire album captured in a short 4 minute blast you feel rather worn down like you’d indeed taken a journey across a landscape stripped of life. And with that you take a breather, before hitting play to go again ready to find new beats to enjoy and new landscape metaphors to overuse.
I happened to sample the solo work of the people involved in this afterwards and even though I found positives in all their output I couldn’t find the same spark as this bad cap mixture produced. It could be down to this sort of music not normally being my cup of tea, indeed it probably is since the vast majority of Justin Broderick’s work outside of this for example is lauded so the question must be asked who is going to read this review and take it as a sign to give TBOH a try. I am ill equipped to give advice on this record to those with every single Enduser album as their knowledge of the genre far outstrips mine, and yet by the same token how can somebody normally attracted to the latest pop rock offerings take this as a valid and useful recommendation.
In the end I guess it’s simply an offer to step outside the safety zone once in awhile, you’d never know what you might find. While to those that already live in such locales I feel bold and will simply say familiarity should not breed contempt on this occasion.