Black Bleeding - The Great Satan
Blackened Grind
8 songs (26:30)
Release year: 2009
Official Myspace
Reviewed by Charles
Surprise of the month
It’s a reliable rule that when it’s difficult to pin a band to a specific sound or scene, then they ought to at least be interesting, if nothing else. Fortunately, this band offers plenty more than mere curiosity. Black Bleeding, hailing from Belgium, describe themselves as “Rock ‘n’ Rollin Black/Death Metal”, but you could easily throw grindcore into that mix; indeed, a lot of the band’s key elements seem to demonstrate an affinity with that scene. Song names that go for laughs (e.g. I Don’t Make the Laws (I Fuck Them), an album title and cover that could fit them as backing band at Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s wedding, and above all the often avant-garde-ish freewheeling energy that goes into their (sometimes very short) tracks means it’s tempting to label them as eccentric grindcore controversialists. Contributing further to this impression is Balmuzette’s extrovert and hyperactive drumming, that occasionally puts me in mind of Total Fucking Destruction.

But what makes The Great Satan special is the way in which it takes bites out of, chews up, and spits out influences from the more conventional metal scenes; in particular, black metal. Karma 666, for example, opens with the kind of melodically inclined, 6/8 feel riffing that we have come to associate with far icier purveyors of North European metal music in recent years, being slightly reminiscent of early Dissection. But throughout the song it rapidly becomes apparent, particularly through the erratically palpitating sticksmanship (no steady blasting here), that the band has an energy that cannot be contained in this way. It is far rawer, and is continually bursting at the seams to spiral off into raging volleys of grind.

It’s very rare that an album sounds this rough and ready, an impression that may even be aided by the occasional moment where the playing seems slightly below par. This “organic” feel is best demonstrated by the closing title track. Bizarrely opening with the kind of grandiose quasi-symphonic stomp that really ought to belong on Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk, it proceeds to drag the listener by the ears through an unpredictable blizzard of overwhelming blastbeats, melodeath-y lead harmonics, and pseudo-militaristic percussive drills, and somehow managing to at no point compromise the image of a three-man band playing raw, violent music in their garage with the attitude of Discharge. Of course, this is only possible if a band decides that the gaps between seemingly distant corners of this broad genre are probably bigger in the mind than in reality

It’s particularly difficult to pick standout tracks here. Indeed, at only 26 minutes in length, this “full-length” album really ought to go on for longer. Despite what I have said, this is not an “experimental” band at all, really. Everything here is cohesive and spontaneous, serving to remind us that whilst during the development of the metal scene an insurmountable wall may seem to have appeared between black and grind, for example, there is no reason at all why when stripped of scene allegiances different forms of extreme metal music cannot work gloriously as two fists of the same fighter. The Great Satan is always immediate, visceral, and full of invention. So, if you are at all intrigued by the fact that this band can viably be compared to both Total Fucking Destruction and Emperor in the same review, you should give this band a try. If you head to their myspace, you will, for a limited time, be able to download this album for free.

Killing Songs :
Tar & Feathers, B.B. Initials, The Great Satan
Charles quoted 83 / 100
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