While I feel like a significant portion of death metal misses the mark when it comes to an elevator pitch, Blight House hit the nail on the head with their straightforward "gross death metal" tag. This stuff is, indeed, very gross. Throwing on their latest offering, the appropriately entitled Blight The Way, is like unto watching a series of straight-to-vhs horror movies whilst lounging uncomfortably in a medical waste dumpster. Y'know, the good times and healthy activities we all dream of.
Blight House knows how to effectively apply campy aesthetics in pursuit of a rousingly good time. As such, a necessary degree of self-aware good humor pervades in the lyrics and numerous chopped samples, as well as the song titles themselves. Punny examples such as "Grassquatch" and "Dismembers Only" aside, "Florida Man Hails Satan" is an absolute banger. I hasten to add that humor isn't used as a crutch here so much as an essential component of a greater picture. Without grunting and grinding music that goes, as they say, hard as absolute fuck, this project would fall apart pretty damn quick. But fear not: Blight House deliver the goods in the engaging music department. The chugs, while far from complex, chug with an engaging foot-stomping vigor, and, most notably, the omnipresent bass bounces throughout at a loose lope. The bass indeed dominates--for a prime example, look to the sasquatchian "Grassquatch" as it moves with earthshaking heft. The vocals are quite flexible, running the gamut between gross-out sewer gurgles and mucus-coated raspy roars.
More than simply relying on gory gross-out tendencies to carry the record, Blight House injects quite a few unexpected elements into the body of work. Highlight "Florida Man Hails Satan" ends on a brief cleanly sung moment that feels out of place at first blush, while simultaneously feeling essential to the makeup of then track. The delightfully odd "Too Ugly To Live, To Dumb to Die" features a strange and strained vocal tone in the guest vocals, electronic yet all too human. Samples are numerous and put to consistent good use, my favorite being "Moms Away II--Dad's Bod, where an initial Family Feud moment is brought back midway with the classic chime. This is a move that ultimately lends a consistency and sense of sensibility to the use of samples in the first place. This album is littered with inappropriate-for-polite-company moments that subsequently become earworms I feel a strong desire to vocalize throughout the day. As a prime example, "I'm putting children in your children. I got your children and the babies. What are you gonna do about it?" has run circles in my brain over the past week, cementing the grisly and unsubtle "Bible-Belt Baby Buffet" in constant rotation whether I want it there or not.
Blight The Way is marked by a certain inconsistency that, upon repeat listens, feels less like a bug and more an extended feature of its intrinsic oddity. While delivering a recognizable style across the breadth, the guitar feels markedly different from track to track--lurking one moment, barging about the next. By comparison, the wall of sound conjured in a song like "Walpurgis Date-Night" feels quite sonically distinct from, say, the thinner application found on the aforementioned "Too Ugly To Live, Too Dumb To Die." Both tracks work very well in an isolated sense, and the disjointed feeling that I associate with the overall album listening experience adds to a sense of disorientation that transcends the music itself. While it does not make for a clean or streamlined or easy listening experience in the slightest, that's...kinda the point. It pulls and prods and never quite goes where you expect. Thematically, vocally, and sonically, Blight House have created a truly nauseating album. Real barf-bag material. And I mean that, of course, in the most complimentary sense.
If you've come to Blight The Way expecting a by-the-numbers death metal experience, that certainly ain't what this duo serves. Blight House revel in a sort of deliberate discomfort that is quite uncommon outside the world of overt goregrind. It makes for a unique listening experience, and while I won't necessarily be returning on the basis of riffs or guitar tone alone, the sheer oddity illustrated in the songwriting and the campy good humor throughout is a true highlight, making Blight The Way one of the more memorable and engaging death metal albums I've enjoyed this year. Check it out here!
Blight House - Blight The Way was released August 4th via Syrup Moose Records.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that wakes us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry.