It‘s a sad fact of life good things don‘t last very long. The same applies for a small label from Virginia, USA, called Rusty Axe Records. This label is/was responsible for some great releases, tell you that!

For today I‘ve chosen Blood Cult‘s debut full-length „We Who Walk Behind the Rows“, and if you follow our webzine closely, you know it‘s J.R. Preston‘s project/band we were discussing in an interview with him. OK, shameless promotion it may be, but there is a lot of more into it.

This album opens with Psychic Vampire“ and one certainly doesn‘t expect that tune in a black metal album! The catchy guitar riff suported by the bass line and the classic rock drumming provide a solid base on which lies JR‘s vokills. And the solo kills, it just fucking kills, dude!!! I can listen to this song all day long!

The Moweagua Coal Mine Disaster comes second and we getting into a „standard“ black metal tunes, although I don‘t know many black metal bands singing about an explosion in a coal mine (I‘m not that smart, I‘e googled that stuff). 3:23 minutes long, it stops about a minute till the end and offers a nice familiar funeral tune played on piano. Fitting, if you think about the actual disaster.

Blood Cult band

The third track entitled Cheap Guitars“ again switches to classic rock tunes before getting berserk on a two-tones spree, just to get back to rock again. A catchy tune again, although I prefer the solo in the opening track more than what JR offers in this one. Just a personal taste, you know.

We Who Walk Behind the Rows, 4th in our audio quest, is a nice little black metal song, somewhat simple in the way of the early Norwegian bands of BM‘s 2nd wave, but double vokills and above-the-standard riffing/soloing (do I keep praising JR or what?) makes it way more interesting than the majority of stuff you might encounter in your music collection.

And here comes the Owl“, and the classic rock returns. Catchy and simple, this combination creates a nice earworm one won‘t simply forget.

A Cult in Blood can‘t deny its roots in Norwegian BM, but again, the guitar work makes it to stand out from the myriads of similar artists, and the song is just richer with the melodies, both of lead guitar and the rythm one as well, especially after the fist minute of the BM onslaught, where the song changes into a proper guitar worship. Go check for yourself!

Redneck Black Metal“, this is how you sum this all stuff up, and the drumwork from the very beginning evokes the country feel. Does Illinois have country music? Well, if not, they should. The longest track on this album, it rides on those hypnotic beats with a simple riffing and do I hear the spoons there? I do, I guess! Fucking brilliant, if you ask me! The vokill is pretty much black metallish, but it nicely fits, and in the passages with double vokills, it strangely evoked old Venom (you know, when you hear „redneck black metaaaaaal“). And yet again, say what you want, but J.R. is just a fucking great guitar player. The solo in this song kills again. It just merges so many different feelings, from psychedelic to classic to…I don‘t even have enough adjectives, damn it!

And the last one, Illinoisian Thunder“, second longest track on the album and we‘re closing this nice little album with another BM blast, with a subtle riffing, demonic vokills and fast drumming, this songs reminds me of Mayhem‘s De Mysteriis… material, although I would contend with anyone Euronymous was nowhere that good guitarist as J.R. (OK, OK, I stop!).

All done, this 28 minutes long opus offers a great glimpse to redneck black metal, an unique blend of the American traditional songwriting and atmosphere and European black metal music. If you are bored with yet another (sub)standard BM band playing the same old tunes and if you look for some fresh approach to the black metal, check Blood Cult. And as usual – you can thank me later.