A mixture of black, death and thrash metal, Ben Blutzukkker’s latest EP is recommended for fans of Abbath, Snowy Shaw and Satyricon, all artists which I’ve enjoyed. The EP actually comes in a weird bonus format aside from download, stream and CD – a mini LEGO figure. This guy looks pretty cool too, and he comes with a guitar. Interesting marketing gimmicks aside, there’s definitely a classic black metal feel to the music here and I think that fans of latter Celtic Frost/Tryptikon are going to find something here in the vocal approach. The album’s title cut features a slew of fierce groove thumps, fronted by Blutzukker’s harsh vocal rasp. His rasp actually feels closer to that of Satyr, in that you can actually understand it. I’m also reminded a bit of early Venom and the new Venom Inc, which I’ve been jamming as of late. There are some slight changes in tempo here, which are appreciated between the tufts of groove. “Stab by Stab” is also groove-laden, which makes me consider this record more of a groove-black performance, which doesn’t upset me any bit in the least. Parts of this track really gelled with me, especially the chorus riffs, which set the whole thing off. It lumbers a bit, but that’s the point. The next one we have is “Six Sec Sex” which is an Illwill cover. There’s a light moment of air in the piece, which I wouldn’t haven’t expected. Some solos are also brought to form here, which is always appreciated. “Bloodlust” is another slow-kill, though it does have some strong melodies here and there before the drumming starts to change slightly to offer a bit more thunder. “Loose Ends” sounds like an odd mix of Mega Man melodies and black metal, which has me a bit confused. Towards the end however, it starts to really gain some fire. I wish the whole record could have had that going for it.
I have to be honest. While there are several great ideas utilized here, Riptide seems to drone and lumber a bit more than it needs to. Though I understand the influences that went into this, I was never the hugest fan of Tryptikon or latter-era Celtic Frost, which is what I often think of as I was listening to the disc. As a matter of fact, it droned so much that I found myself slightly flipping through a track or two during the second listen. Suffice it to say, that while Ben Blutzukker does have some potential; this record was just not my cup of tea. Perhaps you’ll find something in it.
(5 Tracks, 20:00)