Most people today know about the bands that were direct results of Black Sabbath; for example, Candlemass, Saint Vitus, Pentagram, Solitude Aeternus, Trouble, Solstice etc. These bands are classics for a reason, they provide something new and they excel at it. Sometimes, though, a band takes their influences and innovates just enough to “perfect” the sounds. In doom metal, it’s not as clear as who that might be, but I’d argue that band could have been Blood Farmers.
I was not a metal fan in 1991, so I don’t know what Blood Farmers were REALLY up to, but it looks like no one else really was either. However, the demo Permanent Blood Damage really showed that they knew what they were doing. The banger “Bullet in My Head” and their epic “Veil of Blood” was all we needed to hear. You can see Blood Farmers’ initial ideas floating around that no one else was really attempting, even if they weren’t perfected – psychedelic horror and doom.
Personally, I love horror, Satan, and the occult, but since, Sabbath and Vitus are more about personal struggles I never really connected with them beyond the music. I heard that there was a dark version of Sabbath/Vitus about 10 years, so I bought the Blood Farmers demo and the debut album instantly. I think my purchases were immediately justified when I heard the “Dead Alive” clip.
Blood Farmers are great both lyrically and musically. Their lyrics are dreadful and horror-esque, and their riffs mimic beautifully. For example, the song “Orgy of the Rats” starts off similar to most epic doom songs, but it evolves into a groovy head banginger without any care in the world. The trills and slow-moving riffs are exactly what you’d expect, and Blood Farmers nail every note. Once the song ends, you think to yourself, “oh shit it could have went for 10 minutes longer and I’d still love it”.
What I believe Blood Farmers does better than almost all other bands in the genre is the expert layering of heavy rock and psychedelic metal elements with doom metal. For example, “General Urko/I drink your blood” starts off brooding and dark; the reverb and dark chord progressions are hypnotic, and as you progress you start to feel your mind unravel, and just sit there bobbing your head. These ideas coalesce from a dark, hypnotic track to more heavy rock/stoner/psychedelic riffing and again back to how the album starts, but Blood Farmers never let you forget there is a psychedelic tone in the background.
The self-titled Blood Farmers album starts you off like you’re listening to Vitus/Sabbath, but progresses so much that you end up listening to something else entirely. It’s a unique horror doom album that you can’t help but put on again once it’s over. This album is a perfect example of an album that is greater than the sum of all its parts.
Album rating: 95/100
Favorite track: General Urko / I Drink Your Blood