Vicious Virtues by We Wild Blood

Release date: July 17, 2020
Label: Hot Fools Records

We Wild Blood(WWB) are back with new member, Marion Andrau, and Vicious Virtues, the desolate and frenetic follow up to 2019’s Blood/Money. I must’ve seen WWB play about 5 times in 2019 and I was never disappointed. I think the first time might have been opening for Oneida? I think that was 2019, I don’t know anymore. From the off-set I was impressed by their individual instrumental prowess and their rotation of lead vocal duties. Having never seen them as a four-piece I can only anticipate how much more face-melting their shows are gonna be when social distancing is eventually safe to end. At the time of writing, all you fuckers should wear masks, watch bands play via studios and closed venues and try not to kill people with weak immune systems. It’s not natural selection killing people so many people here, it’s human error.

‘You Do Not Exist’ is a perfect introduction to this album, its blistering, relentless and has a bit of an ear worm quality as well. The refrain tying into the egodeath that first attracted me to the band (see Blood/Money review) is delivered with absolute authority by what I presume is a particularly deranged Andy Clydesdale. Straight of the bat, it feels less easy to pick apart what is actually making what sounds and the bands sound more cohesive and monolithic; it’s always nice to feel like music whacking you on the head and ‘You Do Not Exist’ is a concrete slab of an opener.

One thing, I like about this album is I can feel the influence of so many bands I’ve watched with We Wild Blood in the audience, the likes of Gnod, Pigsx7, Luminous Bodies (for whom Dan Hunt was also drumming at the time). ‘Eat Your Tail’ is a really great amalgamation of a lot of the stuff I love in these bands, the heavy delayed screams like Pigs, the Gnod-like pulverising riffs and it’s really easy to say Dan’s drumming *cue laugh track* so, I’m gonna leave it at that. The key thing is that there’s an obvious We Wild Blood vibe that sets them apart from the other bands in the scene. They bring their own frenzied and unique live performance, but they’re also kind of disassociated in a relatable way; it feels very appropriate in this era to go from screaming and call for the collapse of capitalism and oligarchy only to slump into hopelessness and despair.

‘Prison Simulator’ perfectly captures the band at their most removed, built upon hypnotic drones and a pulsating rhythm section, the track’s almost nauseous croons (presumably from Dan Hunt behind the kit) serve to embody a characteristic slump, following a high energy surge, like a musical comedown. I like ‘Lock In’ and it’s a perfect track for the COVID-era but, does anyone else hear this and think of ‘Feel Good Hit of The Summer’? “COCAIIIIIIINE”. Can’t get passed it. Maybe it’s the cocaine trying to do a little sneaky on me? Devil’s drink loads, spend all your money and talk about yourself for hours to dull strangers powder. But, I digress.

‘Low In My Circle’ might be my favourite track on here, it’s hard to explain why the melody reminds me of some kind of pirate jam, there’s a quality similar to ‘Burnt Reynolds’ by Crippled Black Phoenix of something epic at work. The vocals sound like they’ve been listening to Low and I fully endorse that, fucking grim really. Really sick though. It occurs to me whilst writing that this may be why the track is called ‘Low In My Circle’…in any case, this track is brilliant and there’s no one doing anything like it right now as far as I know. The switch into double-time in the middle and the fucking raw screaming are absolutely awesome. It just goes all over the shop. It’s so relentless that ‘Osiris’ basically functions as a three minute collecting of one’s asshole after it gets blown off repeatedly during the previous track.

‘Drinking on Trains’ makes me think about how great it is to get pissed on national rail and arrive tipsy at your destination, but also the fact that I haven’t really wrote much about the synths or the bass. It’s basically because everything feels like it’s slamming into you at once throughout. Ben Colhoun Walker’s bass always sounds fat (probably cause he literally punches the fucking thing to make noise), Andy’s synths feel like they’re hammering out horror soundtracks, and Marion’s guitar sounds like someone on crystal meth shredding cheese against the strings. Dan’s drums as always are fucking nuts. Drums make no sense to me, the one instrument I sit down with and just think “no, too much”, he plays them like he’s practicing wing-chun on the kit. I find it fascinating how previously everything existed in its own space and now they’re able to all be equally prominent, but for it to feel so much more savage and inseparable. ‘You Can’t Bury The Wind’ closes out the album and it’s an absolute scorcher, it’s a short fuse with a big bang to end the collection. I’m really loving the band’s new direction and with the way they are, I don’t doubt that they’ll keep morphing with each release into an even wilder, bloodier We Wild Blood.

Check out We Wild Blood on Facebook to watch their live stream from a closed New River Studios this Friday 17th July 2020 or if you’re reading this in the future, then find it retroactively. Please follow the link to Hot Fools Record’s bandcamp to hear the band’s new music now or go to their personal bandcamp to revisit previous releases.

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