My first thought when I look at Racebannon's Myspace profile is that their vocalist, Mike Anderson, has a bit of the curly-haired Ween look to him. That thought is quickly replaced as I scroll down at the four long-hairs, with dark symbols on their foreheads and doused with blood. The lasting impression is that Racebannon are some theatrical dudes who are into tough-guyism and carnage. The album artwork for Acid or Blood (not to mention the title) further this concept with a Clockwork Orangeneedle-into-the eyeball close-up. Throw in the pentagram logo and you've got yourself some pretty clearly crafted imagery. Furthermore, the first song on the record is called "Translucent Lifeforce."
Of course, with a more in depth search you'll find a handful of photographs of a smiling band that looks rather non-threatening. For the record, Acid or Blood's second track is called "Sister Fucker."
The Bloomington, Indiana band has a sound that would fall somewhere under the general heavy metal umbrella, with an inclination toward the Bungle chord school of warped and spastic. First impressions made me think of the likes of Tub Ring, Nuclear Rabbit, or Nil8 but less eclectic than those bands. A more accurate description would be to think of a metallic Blood Brothers, with some hints of the Butthole Surfers underlying the madness.
The majority of their songs are spastic and shrieking. I imagine a lot of Red Bull, Ritalin, and strobe lights at one of their shows - along with the gallons of blood, of course. Songs like "Awaken" and "The Killer" are abuzz with a manic schizophrenia thats also precisely timed and controlled. However, there are a few moments where the group mellows out. "Sister Fucker" has slower elements of Black Sabbath-style heavy, while "Candida & Parasites" and the bonus track show an interest in a noisier, ambient direction similar to Nine Inch Nails instrumentals. This is especially the case on the latter half of the disc, with the haunting "Bella Ciao and the cacophonous, almost industrial "Bad Case of...".
Racebannon really aren't reinventing anything, but it's done with sincerity towards the style and with songwriting skill to pull together chaotic elements. The diversity of content, from psychotic to cartoonish, with mellow, industrial instrumentals in between keep it interesting without overloading on either style too much.
7.0 / 10
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