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Music For When Your Head Is In A Dark Cloud

Bad Blood
(In Bloom/Reprise)

Take Kevin Martin (the main man behind the excellent Macro Dub Infection compilations), Justin Broadrick (leader of industro-grind band Godflesh), then throw in guest contributions by Blixa Bargeld (of Einsturzende Neubauten) and DJ Vadim and you have Ice. If you have to imagine their sound, think Tricky having a really really bad day, then go about three steps further.

Bad Blood is a noisy, sluggish smorgasboard of sound that manages to mix dub, hip-hop, electronic blips, and industrial into something super-dark and claustrophobic. Over the course of 7 tracks and 53 minutes, the disc trudges through some of the deepest darkest music I've heard. The album opener "X-1" probably has the fastest beat of any cut on the album, and even its not very speedy. When things are slower, though, it's easier to make them absolutely throb, as Ice does so proficiently. The track moves through a couple different incarnations over 7 minutes, and some points it has two vocals trading up duties (one doing almost spoken word while the other screeches over the top). Other parts find the vocal parts twisted and slowed into something decidingly more sinister. So goes the rest of the album. Most of the tracks grind along with huge beats and other electronic blasts, while one or more vocalists let loose with dark lyrics. The instrumentation behind it all (although staying nearly the same bpm) changes up considerably throughout, although thematically it's always nightmarish.

It's dark, crushing music, and it's actually hard to get through the entire album in one listen because the sound is layered on so thick all of the time. I'm not sure whether to call it goth-hop or industro-funk or what, but if you're in a bad mood and there's no getting out of it, this just might be your best friend.

Rating: 7