Black metal duo Poison Blood combine long-tenured artists on crushing, mind-splitting EP

Two major forces coming together for the betterment (or at least the appreciation) of black metal sounds like a welcome proposition, especially when both of those behemoths have very impressive resumes between them. Their debut EP is nearly upon us, and that effort is one that could crash the walls surrounding your already fragile psyche (well, at least mine is shaky).

Poison Blood is the new union combining Neill Jameson of Krieg and Jenks Miller of Horseback, two musicians who approach their art from very different perspectives and who do not, at least on the surface, seem like artists who’d naturally work well together. Yet, the band’s 8-track, 19-minute scorcher of a self-titled debut entry makes perfect sense once it’s upon you and gnawing the flesh. Jameson and Miller sink into their love of early black metal, as well as deathrock, doom, and synth rock, to create an EP that’s thunderous and savage, but also a really interesting trip. The guys also cite their shared appreciation of bands such as Beherit and Rudimentary Peni (there’s some Christian Death in here as well) as other touch points of inspiration for them, and elements of those groups also are well represented in the sound.

“The Scourge and the Gestalt” gets things going with strange noises flooding and a doomy riff suddenly turning to full swagger. Jameson’s monstrous growls burst through the gates, as the melodies show off attitude, guitars unleash hell, and the track comes to a ferocious end. “Deformed Lights” tramples and kills, as vicious vocals lead the way, and the tempo mauls. The vocals sound massive and crazed, as the guitar soloing takes on a Southern drawl (no doubt a Miller trait), as synth swells and fades away. “Myths From the Desert” blasts apart, with Jameson unleashing his throaty best, which sound painfully emitted, and synth barrels into the bombast. The back end of the track has a unique, war-ravaged feel, with these guys tacking on a huge finish. “A Cracked and Desolate Sky” thrashes massively, with the vocals echoing off walls and the riffs dominating. The pace chugs from there, with synth drizzling over top, and the final moments just killing you.

“The Flower of Serpents” is a nice dose of castle synth, with the music feeling like it should have sound-tracked an old NES game in the mid-1980s. “Shelter Beneath the Sea” is an unforgiving, strangulating push of black metal chaos, as the band unloads all its artillery in order to do as much mental and physical abuse as humanly possible. “From the Lash” brings cement truck-heavy guitar riffs that blacken the eyes, as the vocals kill and cause you mentally to spiral into space. The song keeps storming until calm settles over the scene, strange synth glimmers, and bass work helps the song roll away. Closer “Circles of Salt” settles into a synth bed, feeling like it jettisoned in from the ’80s. That coldness works with the warm guitars and the drums disrupting the picture, and out of that, voices swirl as if trapped in a tornado. The final moments are strange and trance-inducing, putting an interesting finish on a massive mind trick.

Jameson and Miller have a vicious, blood-thirsty effort on their hands with this massive self-titled EP, and where they go from this point is anyone’s guess. Poison Blood are not reinventing the wheel or anything on these eight songs, but that’s not the point. This is a fiery torch held aloft to the black metal gods of old and pushing that sound into the future, where they look to keep the heathen spirit alive.

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