As I enjoyed Steff Metal‘s guest post from a few days ago and her unusual collection of female black metal and death metal vocalists who can growl and howl with the best of the dudes, something nagged at the back of my mind. Something I’d forgotten. Something about a killer female vocalist whose killer band had a new album coming out.
My mind is like a steel trap (rusted shut), and I knew it would come to me (probably as the answer to some completely different question). And then it hit me (like the car that knocked me out of a crosswalk last year): Bloodshoteye!
We wrote about this band (here) on the day after Christmas when we stumbled across a report that they had signed with Canadian-based label CDN Records for the release of their third album, Expect the Unexpected. We listened to some songs streaming on the band’s MySpace page, we watched some performance videos, and we were duly impressed. And not just because their vocalist, Jessica Desjardins, was an attractive woman who could belt out those broken-glass-gargling vocals we all know and love so well here at NCS.
In that previous post, we noted that the new album was due for a February release and that we would be watching for it. And sure enough the album dropped on February 12. And sure enough, we missed it (“mind like a steel trap,” my ass!). Until it came back to us as a result of Steff Metal’s guest post. So we got the new album, we listened to it, and man is it good! (read on after the jump, and listen to a sample track . . .)
Bloodshoteye has been around since 2002. They released their debut CD in 2004 on Galy Records (Without Any Remorse) with no less than Randy Blythe of Lamb of God providing guest vocals. They put out a sophomore release (An Unrelenting Assault) in 2006, also on Galy Records, and they’ve appeared on Canadian stages with a lot of big-name acts.
And on top of that, they are one of the three bands featured in the well-reviewed documentary, Working Class Rock Star (along with Tub Ring and 3 Mile Scream). I haven’t yet seen the film, but from what I’ve read, the folks in Bloodshoteye stole the show. As one review said:
The story behind the hard work of Leamington, Ontario’s BLOODSHOTEYE is especially engrossing, as the personal sacrifices of the band members are brought to the fore. While trying to survive on meager funds and recording an album 12 hours from home, you get a bird’s eye view into the struggle of vocalist Jessica Desjardins and guitarist Shane Ivy as they balance life on the road with the raising of a daughter.
So with that pretty interesting backdrop behind us, what have Jessica, Shane, and their hard-working bandmates delivered in Expect the Unexpected?
Well, it’s a pretty damned impressive mix of death metal and melodic death metal. The songs are well-written, with actual structure and variety, a balanced emphasis on brutality, groove, and melody, and a mix of tempos. The injections of melody and defined structure give the songs distinctive personalities — you’ll be playing them back in your head when the music is off.
The instrumental work is more than competent, with a satisfying degree of technical complexity. The guitars generate crushing riffs sure to feed your headbanging jones plus some really accomplished solo shredding, and the drumwork is creative and not solely wedded to trying to set the landspeed blast-beat record.
And that brings us — of course — to the vocals. And they are awesome. And I would say that even if a dude were singing. For the most part, Desjardins brings forth brutal gutturals and full throated raspy howls with wonderful depth. She even gives us some subterranean gurgling on “Columbian Necktie.” And when we do hear clean singing — which is rare and brief (on “Killing Time” and “Critical Condition”), she has a clear alto (contralto?) voice that really adds a nice touch.
We understand the album was mixed by Chris Donaldson (Cryptopsy, The Agonist, The Plasmarifle) and mastered by Pierre Remillard (Cryptopsy, Ion Dissonance, Misery Index), and the result is a clean sound that allows each instrument and voice to be heard distinctly.
We hope these fine metallers attract a larger audience south of the border — they deserve it.
Enough of our blather. How about some music? Listen to this track from Expect the Unexpected and see what you think: