BendalBack in the early to mid 2000’s, Liverpool was a hotbed for promising metal bands. You had Ogun who played a pounding, heavy groove based metal style, Obsolete who were a fantastic pseudo-death metal act, Metro Manila Aide who were the trippy philosophical prog band, Hollow Point who were the more technical metal band and you had these guys who were raw and heavy as hell. Fast forward a few years and the majority of those bands are no more. Ogun disbanded, Obsolete disbanded and Harry their drummer ended up in Scouse Brutal death metal band Neuroma whilst their bassist Danny joined Hollow Point who then became Scare Tactics who managed to get a slot at BOA the other year and MMA disbanded and the main man behind them, Saul went on to join Clean Cut Kid and is enjoying some success. The Bendal Interlude however have stood the test of time, staying raw, heavy and filthy as fuck and because of this, they have finally unleashed an album showing just what they are capable of.

Brief history lesson aside, we start off with “Buckfast For Breakfast” which is every bit as intense as the act in its title suggests… I know, I have tried it! Surging ambience and a sample about the work, drink, sleep repeat cycle of life gives way to what can best be described as a tidal wave of groove. A terrific sounding riff with an infectious hook to it with some tight drum and bass work comes in and smashes you against the groove. Vocally raw, angry screams bordering somewhere between the legendary Mistress and Weedeater lay down the venomous delivery whilst the tightly controlled groove just hammers away, perfectly paced for windmilling or pitting like a maniac!

Following on from this, it carries on with the filthy feel. A wah laden lead opens up “Losing things” before it explodes with a massive sounding simple riff laden in sludgy goodness which brings another full on groove with it. Rhythmically spot on and powerful in the delivery, it doesn’t pull punches in the slightest and as it goes into the title track, “The Unblinking Eye”, it keeps it up but takes it more to stoner territory. Feedback, slight fuzz, thunderous bass and tremendous sound, it hits hard but allows you to easily go along with it at the same time partially due to the melodic hooks of the chorus and partly due to the phenomenal work by all musicians involved!

It isn’t just stoner, sludge and groove though, “Pint Of Bodies” sounds similar to the insanity of the early Strapping Young Lad work with its rapid and frantic, urgent feeling delivery. Hitting like a sledgehammer at 100 miles per hour, it just bowls you over and even when the franticness slows to a more subtle groove, it’s still relentless with its power. Another track of note is “Triumph of Fortitudo” which has vocal delivery similar to that of At The Gates. Starting off with a stunning drum solo based intro and some great riffery, it soon picks up the pace. The growled lyrics cut like a knife through the wall of sound and the full on headbanging groove later in the track is one of those moments where you just need to experience it.

Overall, this is some solid work. It’s full on, it’s intense, it’s angry but it is so rhythmically sound. The groove which just oozes through the album is captivating and once it gets you under its spell, you cannot help but accept the brutal assault on your senses. Loud, thunderous, venomous… It’s insanely good.

(7.5/10 Fraggle)