‘Bloodsweat’ is the latest raucous product from Plague Vendor, dubbed a “voodoo punk” band who first caught fire in the scene in 2014. This came with their erratic debut ‘Free To Eat’, from which they gained a loyal following which continues to grow. The debut was collectively barely 20 minutes long so if you want an excellent example of a youthful, experimental band maturing but still maintaining the wackiness, ’Bloodsweat’ is your best bet.
A heavy but entrancing instrumental background and hazed-out vocals not so much welcomes, but pushes you into the record with ‘Anchors to Ankles’, later followed by psychedelic yells reminiscent of bands like The Chariot mixed with Baroness. ‘Jezabel’ then entices with a climbing bass-line and strange, raw, punky darkness. Up next ‘Ox Blood’ breaks the previous formula with a ominous synth intro which almost appears indie rock-esque with a long droning bass throughout. Definitely a unique standout.
The record continues consistently with classic sweaty crowd-pleasers like ‘ISUA’ and ‘Saturday Night Shapes’. Alongside this the brutal, pacey ‘Fire To Emotion’ will most likely rile anyone up. Penultimate track ‘Giving In, Going Out’ is more uniform and lyrically defined and comes complete with an incredibly jammy but simplistic guitar hook. ‘Got It Bad’ polishes the record off with a droned, drawn-out exposition-esque intro. An expression of emotions, vocalist Brandon Blaine shudders through the song, painful shivers an added touch of realism which resonates just how honest the record is.
Plague Vendor are what they are and have continued to prove that they aren’t afraid to show it. Admittedly “voodoo punk” isn’t a term that you hear day to day so it might take a couple of listens, but it is definitely something different.
’Bloodsweat’ by Plague Vendor is out now on Epitaph Records.
Words by Phoebe Messenger.