Bloody Knives is an industrial shoegaze band from Austin, Texas. Since 2009, they’ve released a bunch of EPs, but have yet to release a proper album. Their most recent release is an EP called Death, which was written and recorded in a week. It was engineered specifically for release on 7″ vinyl, and it’s only available through the magnificent Saint Marie Records. If you’ve been around here before, or if you’ve talked to me in person at any time in the last four or five months, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of that label. Most of the stuff that they release is of the shoegaze and/or dream-pop variety. This is something a little bit different.
There is certainly an element of shoegaze in Bloody Knives, but they’re not at all like most shoegaze bands. They’re much more aggressive. More metallic. When people write about Bloody Knives, they always use words like “forceful”, explosive”, “pummeling”, and so on. Those, and the obvious “noisy” are the same kinds of things that people say about A Place To Bury Strangers. This is still quite different.
Since the band is new to me, I don’t know anything about their previous releases, but by all accounts, Death is heavier and darker than everything else that they’ve done. At a staggeringly quick 11:25, the six-song EP doesn’t have time to mess around. And it doesn’t mess around.
Remember when Curve came out of hiatus to release the 1998 album Come Clean? Remember how they had drifted away from the dreamy stuff and into something more industrial, more electronic, more dancey? In some ways, this Bloody Knives EP reminds me of that. But it’s more like that with a healthy smattering of A Place To Bury Strangers, and maybe with Trent Reznor twisting the knobs or something like that.
I initially decided that Bloody Knives wasn’t for me, but after I sat down with the EP and gave it an honest chance, I really do like them. At least I like this EP. Especially tonight’s song. At 2:36, it’s the longest song on the 7″ record, and it’s the one that’s easiest for me to get behind. Like every song on the EP, it has an abrupt ending. This means that there’s not really any “flow” to the record, but I’m totally willing to let that go.
“Peeling Away The Skin” by Bloody Knives
Right away, lots of noise. Lots of squall. Lots of sound manipulation. Yes, it’s a bit more metallic and a bit more industrial than most things that I like, but this really works.
What also works is this video:
Footage of the band playing interspersed with footage of a person being brutally tortured. It’s graphic without being explicit, and those “torture” scenes very much have the feel of those weird German-language “horror” films, where there’s more psychological terror than blood and guts. More suggestion of violence than actual on-screen violence. There’s a lot of blanks that your mind fills in. When you watch those movies (like this one and in a different way, this one) you always think that you’ve seen more graphic details than you actually have. Those are both excellent, but very disturbing movies. They’ll both leave you thinking about them for days. Just be prepared to be emotionally devastated. At the moment, “The Seventh Continent” is not available for Netflix streaming in the US, but “Funny Games” (the 1998 original, but not the 2007 English-language remake starring Naomi Watts) is. That bit about German (actually Austrian) horror films is just an aside. There’s something about this music video –not just thematic, but also in the way that it’s shot– that reminds me of those Michael Haneke movies.
Anyway…. Back to the music.
The Death EP is not available via iTunes or amazon or bandcamp or any of these. It’s only available via the Saint Marie Records web store here. If you order the 7″ EP, they’ll send you a download code, but there are no other formats. No CD, and no hipster cassettes. While you’re in the virtual shop, order some of the other excellent new releases. Especially the new one from Drowner, which will be released on Tuesday August 13. And be sure to tell them that I sent you.