The history of this unassuming horror inspired doom metal album would only seem tragic if you’d never spent an afternoon seated within earshot of its euphonious stoner doom tones. In every sense New York doomsters Blood Farmers‘ debut is a success except well, financially, and journalists have done their best to resurrect the band’s visibility above the underground for a couple of decades now. If there was ever a shit release on Hellhound Records I haven’t heard it and the true curse of ‘Blood Farmers’ starts with the label’s dissolution following its release and continues on to the short lived Leaf Hound Records who not only revived Blood Farmers career but also reissued their debut album (remastered) in 2008 before dissolving as well. The album remains as it was conceived, a doom metal equivalent of a forgotten horror classic stuck in a thousand B-movie collector’s archives. Trouble is, this stuff holds up as A-game material to this day.
You really have to hunt down this band’s shit due to the dead labels leaving a trail of smaller issues in their wake and in the rare case of the catch being sweeter than the expensive catch grabbing a copy of Blood Farmers‘ first demo ‘Permanent Brain Damage’ (1991) yields a surprising beast of a 50 minute five song demo with lengthy trails of doom riffs even heavier than comparable full-lengths by Revelation and Count Raven at the time. In just a matter of years they’d reigned in their sound with another album’s worth of tunes for ‘Bury the Living, Harvest the Dead’ (1994) and many of those tracks, along with a few from the first demo, would end up on their self-titled debut.
After flipping through both demos it seems as if ‘Blood Farmers’ was the band taking their shot at a full-length seriously. In maintaining their jammed feeling with wide-open grooves in hand but tightening up their compositions there was growth felt Blood Farmer‘s process and this might have been due to the new rhythm section now up to snuff with Dave Depraved‘s (Dave Szulkin) strong guitar work. From the Sabbath-groove and dual guitar solos of “Albino”, the bluesy sardonic jam of “Bullet In My Head”, and the bassist’s bong rips that interrupt “The Holy Chalice” the appeal of this record is immediately clear. It is a heavy stomping doom metal record that cuts through the often self-serious tone and despair of early doom metal and injects a more full-bodied ‘Master of Reality’-esque spirit; A grassy mindset before blow and alcohol abuse start to catch up with the brain full of wah-pedal solos, huge riffs, and what I’d consider brutal lyrics.
Trust that actually having to buy this album is worth it if you are a fan of traditional doom metal and the sort of late 80’s/early 90’s stoner metal mindset (minus uh, the funk). It’ll likely be the only way to properly enjoy the record as streaming does no justice to the remaster. It isn’t as if Blood Farmers have lived on as unsung heroes who revolutionized the underground but, more importantly they heavily influenced a lot of it and you’ll hear their reach in everything from Pale Divine to Purple Hill Witch these days. They did eventually manage a comeback release in 2014 that’ll be worth checking out if you’d detected more than a hint of Pentagram influence on their earlier work. For my taste this record sits comfortably in the top ten of my ‘greatest of all time’ doom metal albums and I can’t recommend it enough.
Their claws descending. 4.5/5.0
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