It’s oddly satisfying when an album’s title is also an accurate descriptor for the music it contains. This is more or less the case with Old Blood’s second full-length album, Acid Doom (DHU Records/Metal Assault Records). While the group’s style may not be crushing in the traditional sense, their brand of Heavy Psych has a dark sultriness that should sit well with fans of groups like Uncle Acid and Blood Ceremony. And considering the four-year gap since their self-titled debut, it’s fair to say that things have only gotten more off-the-wall in that time.
Songs like the opening ‘Lake Bottom’ and ‘Veinscraper’ are content to exercise the loose, slow-burn blues of Old Blood’s past work, but a variety of influences reveal themselves over the course of Acid Doom. ‘Heavy Water’ makes for the album’s first major outlier as its acoustic strums and swelling synths give a nice Folk/Prog flavor. Things escalate during the second half as the Jazzy noir mood on ‘Formosa Lodge’ is given room to explore on ‘Slothgod’ and ‘Orbit.’ ‘Pentahead’ and ‘429’ somehow go even further over the top and end things on an especially bombastic note.
These theatrics are further served by the group’s strong musicianship. New vocalist Lynx proves to be an especially stellar addition, proving to be a powerful belter without undermining the rest of the group. From there, the keyboards do a splendid job of shaping the songs with an array of screaming organs and moody pianos. This dynamic does put the guitar and rhythm instruments in a more backing role, but each comes out well; ‘Veinscraper’ and ‘Heavy Water’ in particular feature some excellently shredding guitar solos.
Acid Doom may not be the sort of style that is easily described, but Old Blood’s second album certainly lives up to the title. While the group’s debut made for a solid first impression, a combination of broadened influences and enhanced musicianship has taken their Heavy Psych sound to the next level. Its Avant-Garde presentation is accessible enough to appeal at first listen while the climactic song structuring should give it even more appeal in the long term.
9 / 10