Review: Bloodway – Mapping The Moment With The Logic Of Dreams
I’ve been sitting on this Bloodway promo for a while. While I’m the first to admit that I’m a good-for-nothing slob, I can actually say that the reason it’s taken me awhile to write about it is because I just had no idea what to think of it. I think I finally have it figured out. Either that, or my terrible opinions got tired of running from me and died, allowing me to stuff them full of words like a bad taxidermist and display their unsettlingly posed corpses, all with the feeble hope of achieving a false sense of affirmation.
Quite often, an off-kilter artist/band will have a familiar grounding from which they spin their unique web. An immediate example that comes to mind is The Body: they have clear roots in doom/sludge, but Chip King’s bizarre vocal approach coupled with their odd sampling experimentations make for a unique twist. Bloodway, however, isn’t even so kind as to give you a frame of reference. “It’s a weird form of black metal!” I boldly declared at first. Then I laughed at my pitifully stupid past self of 3 seconds ago, knowing for certain the Bloodway was surely based in a proggy vein of avant-garde rock. “Fool!” I proclaimed at the idiot me who just uttered that. “What does that even mean!” More of a rhetorical question, that last one. I didn’t know, and neither did I.
The point is, Bloodway is certainly an interesting beast to behold. Our dear former leader has already spoken some about the Romanian three piece, but after spending a good deal of time with the album and deciding I love it, I thought this one deserved a full discussion. And discuss we must, for I would love to you know your opinions on Mapping The Moment With The Logic Of Dreams. The first big hurdle, as many of you may remember from W.’s coverage, is likely the vocal style. Primary songwriter, guitarist, and vocalist Costin Chioreanu settled on a bizarrely theatric shriek not entirely unlike the aforementioned Chip King. This particular sound, however, is all Chioreanu’s own. My best description would be an untrained falsetto wailing away with all knobs at 11, rocketing past conventional and somehow landing exactly where it needs to. There is a rough sense of tonality to his voice, as displayed in songs like “Mirror Twins,” “Early Glade Test Pilot,” and “Garden of Diurnal Fractals,” where a brief glimpse of melody shines through here and there.
Musically speaking, this album is all over the place. For the range of styles Bloodway pulls off, the production itself works brilliantly. Crystal clear guitar tones blend with a trebly, upper-mid bass, none of which drowns out the natural drum sound (I say as throngs of audiophiles point out everything wrong with whatever I’m hearing). That clarity is essential as the music jumps from meandering prog to doom and from clean interludes to straight up killer heavy riffs, all with well-developed tonal ideas along the way. There are no moments of stale or rehashed ideas, yet there is a strongly tangible structure to everything. Chorus-like sections will make multiple appearances, giving anchor points for the rest of the song to stretch its legs without losing the listener in a soup of riffs. “Walk Past Near The Lighthouse” is one of my favorite examples of this, along with the title track that closes the album. Everything is written in a way that feels purposeful, but not predictable.
Let’s go back to the title track for a second. Around 1:15, the chorus kicks in for the first time, and for all the bizarre experimentation of the album thus far, there is a distinct element of pure, straightforward rock chorus to it. Similarly there is an almost hook-like quality to the section at 4:40 in “Early Glade Test Pilot.” The fist pumping, groovy guitar line rocks along, Costin’s bizarre voice implies a simple melodic vocal line, and the whole thing just rocks. That doesn’t last long of course, as the second time through the chorus gives way to a distinctly black metal tremolo section. The sort of variety displayed on this album bears the mark of a well-developed writer, where fresh ideas and trustworthy structure meet in brilliant partnership.
Earlier I mentioned that I wanted the opinions of you, the unwashed masses. Obviously we can discuss whether you like it or not, but let’s take it one step further. In an extreme metal landscape crowded with death growlers, harsh screamers, icy raspers, etc., where does this vocal style fit? Regardless of whether you like it or not, how does it challenge the norm? Do you think this sort of experimentation should happen more? Musically speaking, where do you see Bloodway’s blend of metal, rock, and avant-garde sensibility fit? Does their balance between structure and abstract development fit their overall aesthetic? Let’s treat this as a review/Think Tank, where we want to hear your thoughts. A Think Review. No, a Review Tank. Tank Review Think. Think About Reviewing Tanks. Nailed it. Chime in below.
Once again, I, Voidhanger Records comes through for the fans. The album is streaming in full at the label’s Bandcamp, and you can preorder the physical copy of Mapping The Moment With The Logic Of Dreams here before it’s released on September 25th. As always, check them out on Facebook and tell them a website that has toilet in the name sent you.