Bloodway are a new project who burst forth from the creative sac of Costin Chioreanu, Romanian artist and musician. His past works have included guitars for Mediocracy and Protest Urban, bass for Cap De Craniu and Deviant and a myriad of other bands. On top of this he had provided artwork for Aura Noir , Cancerous Womb and Darkthrone .
Sunstone Voyager …… is his latest work , providing guitar and vocals alongside Mihai Andrei on bass and Para on drums and released by Italian label I, Voidhanger Records who promise obscure, unique and uncompromising visions from the metal underground.
Add to this the fact that an exhibition is taking place at Santeria in Milan to present the illustrations that make up the CD booklet (I only have a download but from what I have seen on t’web they sure are some purty pictures) this is not a bog standard release.
So…..off we trot. The blurb with the download mentions high emotion, psychedelia and Black Metal roots so I empty my mind of clutter and jump in.
Intro “I am a drop of water in an Ocean of Stars” oozes ethereal nuances but doesn’t really give a clue as to what will follow. I like a bit of oomph to open a body of work but remind myself that this is movement rather than a collection of tracks. “Skeleton Key” follows with a great prog/black metal feel reminding me in places of Zud and Sigh. Para’s drums have a great sound and the splashy cymbals add to the feel of the track carried along by Mihai’s bass line. Costin’s vocals are tortured enough to appease more necro fans especially during faster passages. Just as I thought the track was going to take off in a blast beat frenzy a hypnotic chant begins before another time change with a vocal that reminds me of Medulla Nocte.”Free Ends” blends in so successfully I did not notice the track had changed. It is during this track that I notice what is missing for me. The music is intricate and interesting with bursts of energy and waves and layers of textures but it lacks throb. Y’know the beat that grabs you by the balls or womb and makes you wanna dance , headbang or fuck. I realise that this is not on the menu here but that is why I feel a little outside of the intended vision.
Next track “Eye Service Collapses” kicks off with a driving riff and drops a bit more groove into the mix. The vocals sound even more tortured here and I fear for his throat. Hope he stays nodule free! For me this is the stand out track on the release with melody and groove not being sacrificed for an avant-garde free for all. But this is before I reach the final piece.
If this release is an exhibition then the red rope leads to the title track. From the opening bars it is evident that “ Sunstone Voyager and the Clandestine Horizon” is the showcase for Bloodway. Everything comes together in this final 6 minuter. There is a fantastic galloping section which reminded me of Immortal and got the old heart racing. The time signatures still vary throughout but there are some great horn flicking moments and poor Costin sounds positively bereft as he screams “Where are you? Where are you now?” . I am a sucker for a voiceover too and this track ends with a beauty.
All in all this release will appeal most to fans of more esoteric and proggy extreme metal and the new shoegaze craze. There is plenty here to get excited about and Bloodway make a wonderfilled cacophony for a threesome.
(7/10 Matt Mason)