We review The new album from Voodoo Bloo – The Blessed Ghost
Voodoo Bloo’s latest album, The Blessed Ghost, is a raw expression of emotion and does not fail to make the listener feel every little thing. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg as to what this album truly contains.
Opening the album with an interesting concept, wherein someone is leaving a voicemail. The Blessed Ghost (Younger Then) is quite the haunting meditation on growing older as the speaking character is suddenly no longer a teenager, and has a crisis of faith as he pours his heart out. Coupled with the subject of how he’s in a band, and the haunting organ music playing in the background is quite the attention grabbing opening.
This gives way to an acoustic ballad for the closing half. Despite this it may be a hard one to re-listen to due to the long speech in it’s opening half. But an impression is made without a doubt.
Pursuit is the first true song of the album. Immediately introducing an intense guitar track that carries a lot of weight and heaviness to it, giving an intense and epic feel to the track. With this big, weighty feel to it, the metal, alt, and indie influences come into full frame. With the vocals being this grand, clean and powerful indie sounding performance that is absolutely breathtaking in its own way. Putting this alongside the heavy intensity of the backing track that’s full of heavy riffs, and some borderline metalcore guitar moments. It gives a shockingly powerful performance that sounds like it could shake the world to its core if it wanted.
We’re Here, Love Is Somewhere Else, is our next stop on this journey we’re taking. Straight away the tempo rises and the drums take a much more pronounced role within the track, being less of this ambient pounding, and more of a presence of fast punk-like beats and cymbal crashes. Throughout the track, it’s clear how much effort and imagination has gone into each track, with the uniqueness to each individual song showing through very early, which is a great sign for near enough every album.
This is very clear on the next track, Rhubarb and Custard, where more ambient synth is used to open the track into this melancholic and heartbreaking ballad. The second half is left to breathe in a sense, with only a brief vocal performance present, and instead letting the marching drums and ambient notes do their work and let the track sit with the listener in a meditative state.
Default, is another extremely fast paced track that runs at absolute breakneck speed from the offset. It’s got a real kick arse feel to it, bringing the energy levels back to eleven after the brutality and crushing sadness of Rhubarb and Custard. It borders on speed metal at this point, but keeps those distinct and powerful vocals on full display here.
Right after Default’s end we are met with a dark and brooding bass number that gives way to some incredible sounds in the next track, Skin. It’s a little safer than every track that comes before, and yet still carries a hard edge and unique sound. Incorporating a more steady sound, with piano notes and subtle backing harmonies that mask the song’s dark lyrics. With lyrics that describe wearing someone’s skin, the complacent listener who hasn’t been paying attention will be met with a dark explosion at the end that will make them realise what they’re truly listening to.
For Asterisk, moves into a brooding style that just continues to innovate on the unique sound that Voodoo Bloo is going for. With these dark and intense soundscapes littered throughout the entire album, this track has got some of the most ambient and unique. With a heartbeat style drum, vocal distortion, and big echoing sounds, it leads to yet another grand and expansive track that pushes the unique sound of the album.
Tomorrow Person, on the other hand, is something much more gentle and contemplative. With a gentle and slightly distorted guitar tune being the basis of the song, it’s the lyrics that are truly the star of the show. They encapsulate the themes of the album perfectly, with themes of growing older and being happy in the future, that ever present fear of what has yet to come. The latter half is this much more striking sound as the full sound of the band come in to back up the lyrics, now expressing how they want to be left alone.
Ritalin, once again shakes up the sound just a touch, utilising acoustic guitar to open the track. It’s within this gentleness though that the listener into a false sense of security. The majority of the track is taken up by an aggressive and disturbing sound that’s much darker than anything that’s come before, with screaming vocals actually coming into play slightly. The obvious analogy is that the first half is showing the effects of someone medicated on Ritalin. Whereas the second half is the after effect of either missing a dosage or kicking the drug entirely.
Small is a more safe track by comparison, but still brings a great energy and recaptures the punk feeling very nicely. It carries a fast-paced beat, rather than the more haunting melodies and ambient feel of a lot of the middle tracks. It even folds in some really great backing vocals that have a fantastic call and response moment as the singer realises he doesn’t want to and never can be, something big. Instead of choosing and being happy with being ‘small’.
Folding back around to the overarching story of the album, The Blessed Ghost (Older Now) is the realisation of everything that the character has been through. Finally revealing that it’s been a concept album all along and that each song has been a chapter in someone’s life. It’s heartbreaking in how it describes the journey of pushing everyone out of your life, in an attempt to feel happy. This brutal theme of taking on the world by yourself. Musically, the track gives absolutely everything, folding in elements of the acoustic moments, the grand heavy moments, those slow-paced thought-provoking moments, and the fast-paced punk moments. Everything is on display here.
The closing track, Continuous Stimulus is a nice epilogue to the album. Giving a much more upbeat send off that’s got a lot more power and energy versus the closing moments of prior track. It’s the darkest track by far, as it descends into this desperate screaming, where the ambient track begins to sound like a demon screaming at one point. Even the guitar moves into this chaotic and screeching sound of feedback that just cuts out.
In conclusion, The Blessed Ghost is the tale of mental health, and how pushing people out may seem like the answer, but will only destroy you. It may be interpreted differently, depending on the listener. But it’s still a haunting listen that does have some mind blowing sounds, and moments of beauty. It’s also surprisingly accessible and may introduce some indie fans to more heavy bands. It feels like the perfect bridge between metal and indie music, and one that’s well worth a listen.