A real treat lies in store for all stoner rock fans with the release of A Cross To Bear & Hell To Harness, the thumping debut album from Finnish metallers BloodRedSky. The towering release is a record all fans of the genre and of storming rock n roll will devour with raging contentment, and though it arguably does not offer anything really new it is a riot they and stoner rock can be brazenly proud of.
A quintet from Pieksämäki in Eastern Finland founded in 2008, BloodRedSky have followed up their well-received self-titled promo release of 2009, with an album which leaves one breathless and exhilarated and probably shell shocked under its tumultuous energy and intent. A Cross To Bear & Hell To Harness released through Inverse Records, offers up ten hurricanes of intensity and invention which as mentioned do not try to break into new pastures but ignite existing recipes into boiling and impacting, not to mention refreshing, incendiary storms. The band have brewed a sound which is as heavy and abrasive as Mastodon, as shadowed and malevolent as Danzig, and veined with grooves and insatiable riffs borne of a Red Fang or Mos Generator, On top of that you have the snarl and attitude of Motorhead with the Kyuss stoner might to its charge. It all conspires for songs which grab you by the throat, sucks the air from your lings, and sends shards of rapture through the passions.
The album declares the tempest open immediately with the outstanding opener Locked ‘n Loaded and as expected with a title like that the song is an adrenaline driven onslaught of aggression and primed energy. The drums of Pasi Moilanen take no prisoners from the start, his thunderous rhythms and cafe fighter intensity a rewarding encounter with drives the caustic riffs into the ear perfectly. The growling bass of Jesse Muranen is a bear prowling the scene and once the equally ursine delivery of vocalist Riku Tarvonen enters, the track is into a stride which fires up the senses to their fullest limitations. It is a dirty tank of a song which ticks all the right boxes and though again it will not exactly satisfy searches for something truly unique who really cares when it sounds this good.
It is an impressive start easily equally by firstly Colours and then surpassed by the staggering song Purifier. The first is an abrasive maelstrom of riffs and sonic enterprise from guitarists Ville Kosunen and Antti Minkkinen which sear flesh and rupture bones whilst again the stunning bass presence of Muranen is a raptorial treat. There is so many great things to say about the album but probably he steals the top honour with his gnarly sounds and intimidating tones. The second of the two songs is a maelstrom of dynamic energies and inventive manipulations of sound and the senses. It twists like a bestial siren throwing serpentine grooves and ravenous riffs at its victims whilst chewing on the ear with the ever agreeable raw growls of Tarvonen. There is a slight hardcore edge to his squalling rage which makes the perfect contrast and compliment to the backing chants and insatiable assault elsewhere whilst all aspects together produce not only the best song on the album but one of the best this year.
The band does mix it up on A Cross To Bear & Hell To Harness with tracks like the slower classic toned A Hero to a Few with its smouldering keys, and the sludgier Goblin King, complete with a sensational and blistering solo, to name just two offering strong and pleasing variations to the otherwise unbridled bruising hunting down of the senses. For personal tastes when the band tries to rip out the heart of the listener they trigger the biggest ardour but every track is a mighty and eagerly welcomed companion and in the likes of The Dead, an adversary such the malevolent consumption spreading from the corrosive engagement. The track is a brilliant and glorious slab of aural black death, an intensive intrusion not to be denied or escaped from, its sonic doomed fingers permeating every cell and synapse for a thrillingly rewarding conclusion for the passions.
Further highlights come with the grizzly Stoneskin and the closing exhilarating instrumental Skulltower but as stated every track is an immense and formidable gem. If you are looking for true stoner metal with a full heart and the intentions of tearing your body asunder than look no further than the excellent A Cross To Bear & Hell To Harness from emerging giants BloodRedSky.
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