Blood Curse - Sorceress

Blood Curse Sorceress cover
Blood Curse
Dead Media Productions
Jumping Jehosaphat! It’s high time I munch my sarcastic, cynical words regarding Kentucky’s so-called “emerging traditional heavy metal scene”, as Caneyville’s diligently seasoned and skilled Blood Curse – fronted by a maturely erudite Aaron Franks on guitar/vox and backed by drummer Olivia Franks alongside recent Satan-sent newcomer, bassist Scott Briggs – has proven, without a sliver of doubt, the Appalachian countryside serves well as an ideal, spooky backdrop for evilly socking occult-toned overtures à la Witchfinder General and Angel Witch...
Simply put, the (blackly) nascent trio’s independently digital, not to mention wickedly octadic, “Sorceress” full-length debut (released, as convened, this Halloween past), has starkly rocketed to the top of my playlist as a penultimate must-hear gem for fans of the above, not to mention all manner of sordidly chthonic and riveting high melody unremittingly unionized with doom & thrash peculiarities also vastly prevalent amongst the killer likes of contemporary hard-driving, grotty mavericks such as Britain’s Amulet or Canada’s Goathorn (turned Cauldron), as well as Northern “Yankees” Satan’s Hallow of Chicago and Wicked Inquisition (now dissipated) of Minneapolis.
On top of an unholy and raw salmagundi of chunkily celeritous, grinding guitar riffs which often procure the ghastly yet adventurous impression of being broke(n) on the wheel – from the intensely Witchfinder General/Night Demon-ish opener, “Isabelle” (extra points for honoring my preferred cousin thus) to a decidedly breath-taking and formidable reprise of “Angel Witch” proper (which, suffice to say, meritoriously adumbrates the original!) – “Sorceress” is chock full of sizzling and tight, flash-in-the-pan guitar solos liable to a) set your frock on fyre, b) scorch your feather-tinged fedora to a fried, ever-lovin’ crisp, or c) instigate such horrifyingly baffling phenomena as instant internal combustion (so long as the futon's salvaged)...
Excuse the wayward hyperbole; simply put, it’s tough to not lose your head while espousing such fondly nostalgic modern-day “classic NWOBHM” reverence! Even the total production benefits from a stoutly no frills, meat & potatoes ambiance which, again, makes this release a sure thing as far as genre-hybrids go, especially stock and unremittingly genuine, rarefied fare such as Blood Curse.
Essentially, each track rocks to the fullest: Aaron’s expressive and expedient mid-to-slightly-upper-ranged, concise delivery, both vocal and instrumentally duly gets the (cursed) claret pumping in a fun “school’s out; let the festival mysteries/investigations commence!” affectation (think the Bad Machinery graphic novel here, for want of a timely shoehorn). Despite a commendable lack of dull moments, I’m particularly taken by the chromatically halting and rugged rough-and-tumbler “Destitute” – an AW/WG dead-ringer if there ever was one – and the even angrier, slashing, orgiastic spellbinder, “Kill You (Tonight)”, with its maniacal refrain and high octane, pummeling leads and drum beats.
All the same (and this is rarely the case), I consider the top most highlight said indelibly staggering “Angel Witch” cover. It’s truly a sound to behold, as not only are the magnificently classical and insane guitar harmonies impeccably, nay, flawlessly pulled off, or the vocals taken to a whole new level in a most glorious, however sinister, light, or do Olivia and Scott perfectly bang out its mashing, drilling rhythm, but the slick, fiery-as-purgatory mini-leads and solo proper are graced with a definite ephemeral, razor-sharp sheen which needs to be experienced first-hand to be believed.
Blood Curse’s first official foray, succeeding a highly intriguing, if not necessary, cover of my all-time best Witchfinder General track (mind, not just for the obvious), “Love on Smack”, is, as inferred and urged, an absolute must for any self-respecting adept of these sweeping, epochal, golden era times (although I could definitely go without the frightfully rendering Matthew Hopkins-ated torture screams at the start of “Conqueror Worm”, seeing as they surely provide my boorish SRO neighbors cause for alarm, not to mention grounds for ridicule and/or spurious assumptions!).
This Abaddon-ish, devil-horn tossing task complete, I bow and exit the (hallowed) hall of learning as its bell clangs a final toll...