Thursday, November 29, 2012

Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats Bleed

Uncle Acid
To make their sophomore drug-drenched horrific full length, Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats did what any psychedelic doom metal band from Cambridge might do. They packed up their equipment and a few television sets in a dilapidated old barn and went to work. It was winter. It took four months.

Their intent was to make the musical equivalent of a 1960s exploitation horror film. The result, Blood Lust, feels more like the 1970s but the decade hardly matters. The lo-fi metal meanderings hit a tipping point that the band never expected.

Their first album, Vol. 1, was limited to a mere 30 pressings. So Uncle Acid (guitars, organ, vocals) pressed 100 copies of Blood Lust because he felt the songs were much stronger. The first day went fine, but then orders plummeted to a few copies a week.

Blood Lust becomes the gem that took some time to find. 

In July 2011, things took an unexpected bounce. The first run sold out. So did the second. And then the 350 vinyl pressing put out by Rise Above sold out in 24 hours. The album, originally released in 2011, has continued to grow in demand, enough so that Metal Blade Records helped it migrate to digital.

Ironically, the band hadn't played live in some time to promote the album. Other than Harsh Ray who played bass for three songs on the album, Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats are a hard-working trio, mostly confined to Uncle Acid, Kat on bass, and Red on drums. Without the additional benefit of a rhythm guitar player, the three feel any live performances lack power.

As to the mystery of their real names, it's not a gimmick as much as it's a statement. Uncle Acid said in an interview with a Polish/English review site that there isn't enough mystery to music anymore. They want to give it a chance to catch without anything else getting in the way.

That is not to say that the band isn't having fun with it. Stories have surfaced that hint at mind control, witchery, and drug-induced paranoia. Even Metal Blade's bio admits, "We are not able to shed much light on the identity of this drug-crazed coven of freaks but are addicted the their heavy, melodic, garage horror-rock sounds."

I'll Cut You Down is the lead track on the athematic story album, opening with the autobiographical sketch of the drug-crazed sadist the album is about. The anti-hero eventually cuts across the countryside hunting witches until he finally meets a similar fate at the hands of Satan. Ominous, but all in good storytelling fun.

"I was born a wicked man, no hopes or dreams ... I get my kicks from torturing and screams."

More than that, I'll Cut You Down tells another story too. Musically, the lo-fi saturation was produced by recording the entire album on an old 8-track. A few fuzz pedals and broken amps did the rest.

Ritual Knife plays much the same way, giving another glimpse inside the heart of the anti-hero who struggles with a Marquis de Sade complex. But what makes the story compelling is the dynamic internal conflict of the character. Sometimes it's difficult to differentiate barriers between love and lunatic lust, good and evil, or purpose and paranoia until the eighth track.

The ninth, Down To The Fire, is a standalone bonus track with beautifully rendered 1970s metal acoustic. It might even be my favorite from the album, even if the entire LP is worth the download. Not one of the tracks can be scrapped, which was also by design.

Uncle Acid and his cohorts set out to make an album that people wanted to listen to, front to back. As a throwback metal album with a lo-fi twist, Blood Lust is deserving. Maybe not deserving enough to capture some crazy eBay prices it did as a bootleg, but definitely deserving in supporting the band.

Blood Lust By Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats Rips 9.2 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale. 

According to some interviews, Uncle Acid says they haven't received much love in their hometown when they started up. Other bands hated them and so did the crowds, people who would immediately walk out when they started to play because they didn't sound indie. But isn't that the point?

Indie doesn't have a sound, but Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats do. What they don't have are pictures. The placeholder above is a picture of Uncle Acid's mic inside the barn that they have since dubbed The Slaughter House. Blood Lust can be found on iTunes. You can also find the download on Amazon, which occasionally carries vinyl. The CD is available at Barnes & Noble.
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