bloodnut-blues-from-the-red-sons-01bI’m a big supporter of not taking yourself too seriously. From bands like Gloryhammer to movies like Tucker and Dale vs Evil, a little tongue in cheek, self deprecating humor can get you a lot of sympathy. Case in point: Bloodnut is Australian slang for redhead and the whole band pride themselves on being gingers all around. They don’t take themselves too seriously either. They list their cover of Ed Sheeran’s “Give Me Love” as being ‘made, recorded and mixed by gingers. Original version by a ginger.’ Their debut cleverly references the legendary Kyuss album Blues for the Red Sun with the similar cover and title Blues from the Red Sons. But there’s a fine line between poking fun and gimmicky self-parody. Did the ginger nuts deliver a red hot album or is it soulless after all?

For all the hubbub around their hair-color, Bloodnut doesn’t use it much in their music, unless I was unaware that ginger equates to crusty sludge metal with a pinch of stoner to help the bulldozer riffs. After a short moonshine blues intro, the opening track “Agent Orange in Thine Enemies Eyes” (what a title!) shows exactly what the band is about: huge, filthy riffs with slurred and harshly belted vocals. The guitar sounds like someone blew up a bass amp with actual explosives, put the parts back together and recorded the guitar through it. The effect is a massive, grinding sound, like a chainsaw with a brain, a first cousin to Eyehategod’s sound but without the misanthropy. The bass is more audible than you’d expect underneath all that sonic violence and adds a dryer oomph, providing some nice counterbalance.

The vocals, however, are a different story. Most people tend to be sticklers for vocals, even in metal where half the vocalists are unintelligible. I’m regularly a hard sell for the same reason, but sludge and stoner have some leeway by their rough, unpolished natures. Unfortunately Bloodnut just sounds like everyone was drunk when laying down the voice tracks. The words are often incoherently slurred and don’t seem to have much bearing on the actual pitch or tempo of the music surrounding them. Vocal duties are often shared or layered, which tends to makes things worse because the voice tracks don’t always line up. Regardless of who sings, most sentences fizzle out at the end and lose all impact. “Drop Dead Redhead” uses a simpler throaty belting style that works, but “The Amber Reign Remains” is one of the worst offenders; most of the song sounds like a pair of drunk hooligans on karaoke night. The few instances of clean vocals are invariably even worse, with the pitch and inflection going all over the place. If the inebriated sound was intended as part of the tongue-in-cheek schtick, it doesn’t hit the mark, lurching from acceptable to downright irritating.

bloodnut-blues-from-the-red-sons-02

It’s a shame because instrumentally the album is very effective. The heavy, crushing sound is propelled by straightforward riffs that betray that they shared a stage with Red Fang and Black Tusk, and although now and then the songs go on for a couple bars too many it’s usually well within tolerance (with the exception of “Send in the Berzekers” which is twice the necessary length). Occasional tempo changes bring some variety to the fold, and when the pace goes down we find welcome blues influence. The closer is supported by a surprising addition of bagpipes and sports one of the better sections on the album: a pulsing beat and driven guitar lead down the center of the track. But it hits a brick wall and falls apart the moment the vocals return to the scene.

Bloodnut have a lot going for them, and I suspect these tunes can tear the venue down when played live. But as a studio album it’s impossible to overlook the ‘drunk karaoke night’ vibe of the vocals. Maybe their next album will work out better if they take that aspect a little more seriously.


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Revaulting Records
Websites: bloodnut.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/bloodnutband
Releases Worldwide: September 10th, 2016

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  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    I’m offended. It’s not “drunk karaoke”, that’s just what Australians sound like you racist bigot.

    • OCCUPY AMG!

    • GardensTale

      Go back to upside down tumblr!

    • I dunno, I didn’t hear anyone offer to put shrimps on a barbie.

      • El_Cuervo

        An Australian once told me that they don’t even say this. They use the English English (ie correct) term for shrimp, which is prawn.

        • Thatguy

          This is correct. No Aussie ever put a shrimp on a barbie and got away with it. A shrimp is a small person.

          • That has bad idea written all over it.

          • I’m okay with it. People are supposed to taste like bacon.

          • Mmmmmm bacon.

          • Oscar Albretsen

            Well, probably have to cook ’em right to get that flavor.

          • El_Cuervo

            I had a childhood friend who went by Shrimpy. He was short.

        • Luke_22

          Yes exactly right and I wouldn’t say prawns are a particularly common bbq food here either. Most of the Aussie stereotypes are pretty dumb and/or way off the mark. I always remember a scene in an old Jackie Chan movie, where he is in an Australian hotel and there’s a koala hanging out on a plant inside the room. Funny stuff.

          • Thatguy

            That actually is funny because Jackie Chan lived in Australia and knows better.

          • El_Cuervo

            I thought you used kangaroos for transportation? Like Canadians use polar bears.

          • Luke_22

            Well yeah on occasions. They are cheaper to run than cars.

        • Adjudant

          We certainly do

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Why would anyone put shrimps on a Barbie?

    • The band is from New Zealand.

      • GardensTale

        Yeah, after mentioning Australia it might’ve been a good idea of me to mention they’re not Aussie themselves, but neighbours. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

        • Oscar Albretsen

          Well, you just mentioned the band name was an Australian slang term, you never mentioned that’s where they’re from. I saw “New Zealand Metal” before I even read the review…

          • GardensTale

            Yes, that’s true, but I can see how it would be confusing. The comments speak for themselves in that matter. Oh well, you live and learn.

  • Treble Yell

    As an Aussie rangas are typically called “red nuts” ’round my neck of the woods. Might be a geographic thing. A well written review all the same. A jokey, incoherent Metal album is just so typically Australian.

  • Monsterth Goatom

    Despite all the ginger, it’s not very tasty.

    • Ouch.

      • Monsterth Goatom

        I know, but I couldn’t resist. Those vocals : (

        • GardensTale

          If I had to write down the lyrics to Amber Reign Remains by ear it would probably be something like “Rabba webba, faiweray! Ebberay ruwaahaay!” There’s more bands that got ruined by the vocals but damn, guys…

          • Monsterth Goatom

            Maybe he’s singing in Welsh?

          • El_Cuervo

            this was quite a good joke

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    That bald guy needs a unicorn on his forehead… not over his whole face, just his forehead.

  • Dead1

    Vocals remind me of that joke band Arnocorps based on Arnold Schwarzenegger.
    It also sounds really badly recorded. I think there’s potential here though.