Review by Brian on February 8, 2015.
One of the most obscure bands in doom metal's rich history is New York's Blood Farmers. They formed in 1989, released 2 demos 1991's Permanent Brain Damage and 1994's Bury the Living, Harvest the Dead, then in 1995 released their self titled debut. Mixing Sabbath inspired traditional doom with 1970's horror film themes became their trademark. After a very good and extremely overlooked first effort, they disappeared, giving them a well deserved cult status. Fast forward 19 years, Blood Farmers are back and in a big way.
Headless Eyes was released in March of last year and though I normally don't review albums that are already a year old, I felt compelled to let you know about this amazing release. I purchased my copy on vinyl and would highly recommend this format to those of you that haven't picked it up yet as well as to those of you who have the CD. It is the same cover design as the CD, but much bigger and comes with a really cool inlay of posters from 70's horror flicks.
I pull the album out of the sleeve, place it on the turntable and drop the needle. As the appropriately titled "Gut Shot" begins, it's low end punch hits hard. This is the tradition Blood Farmers formula, Dave "Depraved" Szulkin's thick guitar tone (he also provides the bass), Eli Brown's masterful vocals and new member Tad Leger's Thunderous beats culminate in a sound so heavy it's weight can be felt collapsing your chest. This continues with the over ten minute long title track and when Eli belts out "I am twisted, I am sick" the album really starts to dig it's claws in and take over the listener. The final track on side one really shows the diversity of the band. "The Creeper" is an Instrumental that has some Pink Floyd guitar tones, think "Dogs", mixed in with the heavy as hell 70's inspired groove riffs. This shows the bands psychedelic side. I turn the record over fully satisfied with the first 20 minutes. Side two starts out much the same, true Blood Farmers meaty doom riffs and the rhythm sections absolutely marvelous low end. I love the albums final two tracks. The epic, psychedelic, rocking 10 minute instrumental "Night of the Sorcerers" and a cover of the David Hess classic "The Road Leads to Nowhere" from the Wes Craven Film 'The Last House on the Left'. The prior is the albums best track, beginning with a Goblinesque approach. Eerie melodies and foreboding keyboards make the nightmare real. Blood Farmers paint a picture that something terrible is about to happen. This song is extremely well crafted and builds suspense with it's soundtrack vibe before crushing you with mighty colossal doom riffs and soulful guitar solos. This is the perfect prelude to the perfect closer. Their cover of "The Road Leads to Nowhere" is top notch. Acoustic guitars and Eli's hauntingly beautiful vocals are a perfect. The rendition of the Hess classic is spiced up in Blood Farmers fashion with melancholic gloomy guitars and amazing psychedelic solos.
With Headless Eyes, Blood Farmers have created one of the best traditional doom albums in years. It's much more than that though, They also delve into psychedelia, 1970's hard rock and splash in fair amounts of horror film soundtrack qualities. The album clocks in at just under 45 minutes, making it succeed where so many doom albums fail, leaving you wanting more as opposed to wishing it would have ended 20 minutes sooner.The production makes this a complete album. The first thing you notice is how big and full the low end is, then how perfect the instruments are separated in the mix. It's not too clean, but not muddy at all, it has a warm feel that makes for the perfect atmosphere. Had I heard this album last year it would have almost certainly made my year end list. Headless Eyes is an amazing comeback, let's just hope we don't have to wait another 19 years for the next Blood Farmers album.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10