When you’re recording guitars you’re taught to keep things “out of the red” – even with the heaviest distortion, you want to keep the sound from clipping and sounding like there’s something wrong with your speakers. Another term for it is “bricking” – when you see the wav form for something recorded too hot it looks like a solid brick of sound with no dynamics. It’s a good thing no one told Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats about that, because their second album Blood Lust wouldn’t have nearly the impact it does if the guitars (and everything else) didn’t sound like all the levels were maxed out. Far from being unlistenable, it creates a lo-fi psych/stoner doom rock gem that gets better with each listen.
“Fuzz” is the operative word when you listen to Blood Lust; everything sounds positively drenched in it. Even the vocals – courtesy of Uncle Acid himself, Kevin Starrs – feels like it’s coming from a frequency far away, where the reception isn’t the best but what you’re hearing you can’t turn away from. I remember at the time there being comparison to Ghost, who also rock that retro rock feel. But there’s a loose, dirty, less calculated feel to the music of Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats that immediately appeals to me (I should mention that I love the calculated feel of Ghost, and will be reviewing their debut sooner rather than later). Songs like the scuzzy doom of “Death’s Door” and the straightforward “I’m Here to Kill You” show some really fun harmonized vocals that blend into the solos giving a real vintage 70s vibe over everything. Lyrically, this is very much a blast into horror/occult territory, with songs like “13 Candles” gleefully reveling in witches and daggers, matching the music’s Sabbath stomp.
By the time the swamp doom of “Withered Hand of Evil” closes out the record the things that really hit me are the way that Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats are the way they differentiate themselves from other retro outfits. They’re not really making music to remind you of a certain time; they’re making music that evokes a certain mood. And yeah: it’s a fuzzed out 70s psych doom that brings to mind certain bands, but when I’m listening I don’t hear that. I just hear the call of the rock.
Bonus pic: the sweet psychedelic splatter vinyl: