Metallic Taste Of Blood – Doctoring The Dead (2015)

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When guitarist Eraldo Bernocchi and bassist Colin Edwin formed their Metallic Taste Of Blood project about four years ago, they stated that they would not be constrained by pursuing a certain idea or concept. That means the music that flowed forth would be whatever the heck made sense for them to make. Concept or not, there remains a distinct personality of MTOB, an alchemy of its two primary members.

That why 2012’s Metallic Taste Of Blood could turn from arctic cold to Sahara hot and back again on nary a moment’s notice, but bound to hefty, steady groove-minded bass lines. Balázs Pándi on drums and Jamie Saft on keys fleshed out their ideas further and completed the instrumental lineup. Straddling the worlds of metal, prog rock, fusion and a few other styles but not tethering to any of those idioms, their debut album had more than enough going for it in originality and quality to justify this being more than a one shot deal.

Earlier this year, Metallic Taste Of Blood made this at least a two shot deal with the release of the second long player, Doctoring The Dead (Rare Noise Records). For this new set of performances, Bernocchi and Edwin make no attempt to alter that personality, nor should they. Their experimental flair remains intact and the mash of ambient, metallic and dub is just as satisfying the second time around. A little tweaking in supporting personnel comes primarily with Ted Parsons (Killing Joke, Swans, Buckethead) replacing Pándi behind the kit and Powell’s role somewhat reduced (he appears on only a portion of these eight tracks). Parsons also gets songwriting co-credits with Bernocchi and Edwin, hinting that these tunes were conceived or at least largely refined in the studio.

Bernocchi’s proficiency at sounding threatening even when he’s at his most peaceful shapes the character of these songs, as Edwin holds everything together through the changes in temperament, not unlike the role the bassist handled so well for Porcupine Tree. In fact, “Pashputi” is just a Steven Wilson vocal shy of belonging on Deadwing, Bernocchi’s guitar alternating between sparkling and demonic (although not as nasty as Edwin’s wicked interlude in the middle of the song), and Parsons’ sleek backbeat makes it complete. “Blind Voyeur” follows a similar type pattern, only there’s also a dark ambient section molded by Powell’s electronic effects.

“Murder Burger” has this plodding, funky badassed groove and Edwin’s cavernous, liquid lead lines. “Ipsissinus” sports a 6/4 beat as Bernocchi rains down alien metal thunder. Edwin and Parsons end the song by setting a new groove around Bernocchi’s sustain. An apocalyptic mood pervades “Doctoring The Dead” through its dark, ominous strut and an ambient section fill of celestial, circuit-bent noises and Bernocchi’s growling guitar.

Interestingly, there are no real solos on this all-instrumental album, but you’d probably wouldn’t notice; the improvisation is found in the subtle-rich textures that veers, evolves and surprises. The perfect pairing of Eraldo Bernocchi with Colin Edwin makes Doctoring The Dead well worth this second helping of Metallic Taste of Blood.


S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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