St. Ranga – CD // DD
Self Released – Released August 1, 2017
Reviewed by Aaron “Red Beard” Wall
Bloodnut…the burly, bearded, ballistic, berserkers of fiery red have returned to pillage and destroy. St. Ranga, is the sophomore follow up to their acclaimed debut, Blues for the Red Sons. This slab of concrete has progressed the Bloodnut accoutrement immensely. While some of the tongue in cheek humor remains, the ginger heavyweights have upped the seriousness factor. St. Ranga is still fun, but its definitely not funny. Heavy stoner, massive sludge, and raw punk rebellion. Normally a three piece, Bloodnut recorded the album as a four piece. Adding a second guitar to the fold, which lends extra girth and goodness. Doug McFarlane-Bass/Vox, Nick Smith-guitar, Kyle Wetton-guitar, and Ty Boniface-drums are here to viscerally eviscerate.
Opening salvo, ‘The Space Orangutan’ builds a force of fuzz. Slowly creeping, raising the cackles. Down tempo and enveloping distortion, as Doug raises his vocal game tremendously. Oddly, but very intriguingly sounds like the Doors in mood…albeit much heavier. The drums pause to let the main riff show its head. The redheaded beasts then explode in full on stoner glory. The chugs begin as the groove runs full steam ahead. The vocals are gravel, but with soul you can feel. No doubt Bloodnut bring the heavy, but also have an excellent underlying melodious factor that grips. The second half ups the tempo and the dirt. The brood throws in a shredding solo, then beats you into submission until ‘The Space Orangutan’ has destroyed you.
‘Mark of the Outcast’ is four minutes of straight up beast mode. Huge High of Fire-esque intro, into a mid-tempo sludge toe tapper. Tunes like this are the reason I am completely on board with the boys in Bloodnut. Heavy as gigantic balls, while always retaining a soulfulness that is undeniably felt throughout.
Next up is ‘That Fire Inside’ This song is straight up raw punk filth. Quick bass intro and cymbal grabs, prime the ears for a fury of fiery flames. Gruff vocals, raw guitars, pounding drums of perfection. This jam is a sharp, powerful, quick punch to the gut. You will be doubled over, in glorious pain.
‘Burning Bush’ brings back the cheeky lyrics, but there is absolutely no joking going on instrumentally. Bringing some of the thickest riffs on St. Ranga, and multiple tempo changes keep the listener blissfully on their toes. The song is executed masterfully. The riffs are sweet, the rhythms are tasty and the vocals outshine anything previously in the Bloodnut catalog.
‘Red Dead Riders’ is a sing along song. Dirty and rough musically with huge choruses. This track is a journey across the desert, looking for blood, on the back of a mammoth steed. Kicking up dust and spit, only in death do we quit. Standout song on a stand alone album.
Closing St. Ranga is ‘Song of Fire and Ice.’ No explanation needed on this song. Best song on the record in my humble opinion.
Bloodnut have composed an album more crushing and weighty than an avalanche of boulders. The fire headed gang of badasses continually bruise and batter eardrums. St. Ranga is an escape into landscapes of flame. Visions of battle and triumph. A plethora of genres in relation to all things heavy. No pigeonholing Bloodnut. New Zealand has something to be extremely proud of in this band of gingered berserkers. These redheads have definitively smashed the sophomore slump with a battle axe. A record filled with passion and soul, drums that roll, and riffs that are raw while still being in full control. Take a pilgrimage in St. Ranga, and prepare to shed blood. It is worth it.