Bloodiest has the experience to know a good ending. “Suffer” closes out the Chicagoan sextet’s self-titled second album, an eight-track onslaught of insistent rhythms. The active ingredient is repetition, which fits well with the band’s intention of using the timbres of metal to reinvigorate rock of the math, noise, and avant-/post- variety. And, sure enough, when you peel back the squall you’ll find the bones of ’90s Chicago. Circular riffs, feedback howls, precise snare snaps, buried roars, and on and on and on.
That said, this isn’t a third-hand invocation. Bloodiest’s membership was in the thick of it. There’s Bruce Lamont, the saxophonist slash yeller for Yakuza, behind the mic. The sure hands of drummer Cayce Key keeps Bloodiest’s forward momentum focused much like he did in 90 Day Men. But Bloodiest, the album, doesn’t sound archaic. The beefy production, which moves the needle toward sludge, is 2016. That underlying style, though? That well-oiled ease when it comes to hitting marks, of quitting while ahead? That’s older knowhow.
Of course, endings would mean nothing if Bloodiest didn’t know how to start things. So, it’s worth listening to “Mesmerize,” Bloodiest’s opening track, to get a sense of “Suffer”‘s building blocks. There, guitarists Tony Lazzara and Eric Chaleff scream, chirp, and slash at each other, building riffs of perpetual motion. Bassist Colin DeKuiper, when not shading the edges, locks in with Key, intensifying the addictive fervor. Nandini Khaund’s keyboards bind it all like a thick mortar. “Mesmerize” grows and grows and grows, laying the foundation for how “Suffer” ends.
And “Suffer”‘s end comes surprisingly quickly. Bloodiest could ride these grooves for eternity. This could be a 10-minute monument to indulgence. However, they do what they need to do in two. Then, right when you expect the cycle to start anew, to reach new heights with another pass, “Suffer” stops. The tail of reverb hangs in your throat, like a gasp that’s never exhaled. It ends, but you’re not done with it. In fact, when Bloodiest is no longer playing, it feels like something is missing. Listen.
Bloodiest is out 1/15 via Relapse. Pre-order it here.