Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Blood & Banjos: Blood & Banjos (2014)


If there’s one reviewer out there who is inclined to like a metal band with banjos, it’s probably me. I’ve written extensively on metal and Americana, I loved that Taak song with the banjo solo, and I adore Panopticon’s Kentucky. So it made sense for Blood & Banjos to contact me.

I was warned that they are a bluegrass band first, with some metal parts, and that’s an accurate assessment. Their self-titled debut begins sounding not unlike Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, and then it turns metal. This checks the right boxes.

Shorter, purely bluegrass tracks (banjo, cello, violin, piano) serve as interludes between the metal/bluegrass songs. Unfortunately, I’m not especially fond of their particular brand of metal. At their best, they do a little bit of black metal (the closing track) but mostly it’s a generic kind of modern metal.

It’s tough to use the word “generic” when you’re talking about an unorthodox combination like this, but that’s the only word that comes to mind. I’m not familiar enough with today’s mainstream metal to cite any names, but most of their metal could have come from rock radio. It’s the kind with nasally clean singing that, when done well, sounds like Dillinger Escape Plan (see the beginning of “Sons of Darkness”), but when done poorly sounds like every metal band on the radio (see all the rest of it).

This is unfortunate, because I was really prepared to like this band. But I don’t think their audience is going to be found on this site. In any case it's available as a pay-what-you-want download.

The Verdict: 3 out of 5 stars

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