Oh you filthy Finns. I got a right surprise when taking the CD out of its tray here as the insert photo shows B.R.F. the main man of this outfit looking pleased as punch as he sits on a corpse letting it all hang out and covered in blood. Gonna need a good sauna session to get that lot off you and a spade to bury the evidence mate. This lot are no strangers as I have already covered their last two albums and the trio have been rumbling around in the underground for quite some time with plenty of other EP’s splits and compilations to their name. They contain members of bands such as Funerary Bell, Lordamor and fittingly Pantheon Of Blood in their ranks and so it should come as no surprise that they are far from formulaic in sound and execution. There is certainly a sense of murder about their methods and music though especially as the opening title track mercilessly batters in without any form of introduction to ease the listener into things.
The bands personification of death is one that is thought out and complex with the 6 tracks here quite lengthy and full of ideas. Gruff and hollow vocals meet us with a sledgehammer barrage before knife like guitars stalk and slow down the pace bringing the deadly melody to the fore. This is violence that taunts and stalks its victim savouring in the moment and wanting to torture and keep alive as long as possible. The vocals on the whole are highly pitched and full of madness, yep there is a blood red fog of lunacy here for sure. Once the knife starts flaying the skin there’s lots to be found under the skin and the guitar playing shines through intricately twisting and turning as the song gallops off and the vocals become even more unhinged. At full speed it all tumbles away in a frantic miasma sounding almost chaotic but the razor sharp precision is found skilfully entwining itself around the guts of the main thrust of the blade. ‘The Master Speaks’ his message is all of pain and suffering “vast is this graveyard full of fresh tombs.” Yes we get the message loud and clear and misanthropy is definitely at its heart. There’s a sombre feeling as things slow and some strange guitar signatures too, it’s far from normal and although the band purvey a raw blackened sense there also a feeling of classicism to be found here. ‘Astral Witch’ has an intro and it’s a spacey breathing space before everything heftily furrows in and melody is gracefully built. At over 11 minutes long you are caught in this spell and somewhat mesmerised as the trio go down an almost classic metal route with the riff work and jam away in a snake like fashion. A death grunt and howling vocals are left to run with them and the song is actually surprisingly majestic.
It’s back to basics with ‘Angels’ a short sharp well-honed exercise in fury following this up and taking back to primeval ferocity. It bounces away with thick powerful drumming and voices speak in tongues almost possessed as they clatter away and the thrust rides roughshod taking no prisoners. Weirdly if you listen closely there’s a bit of a bluesy lick for an instant and again it’s far from formulaic. The nature of ‘Join With The Earth’ is to slow down and let the atmosphere take over. One gets the feel that the earth is in torment from the maudlin melody and the enraged and sorrowful vocals. The near funereal textures really do get under the skin here until the half way mark when it all goes wild and the earth sounds like it is tearing itself apart. Not that you can particularly make out lyrics the way things are delivered but we revert to Finnish for final number ‘Puhe Mestauspaikalla’ the band laying their victims to rest in shroud like atmosphere reading them final rites and sloping off into the darkness once more.
This is certainly not an immediate listen, Blood Red Fog drape their art in complexity and keep the listener on toes throughout. You never know quite what is going to happen next and there is a unique and forward thinking feel about what they are doing but also a vibe that goes back to the roots. Let’s just hope their nefarious crimes and butchery doesn’t catch up with them and they are round for further instalments.
(7.5/10 Pete Woods)