Bastard – Rotten Blood

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Reviewed: [March 2022]
Released [2022 Distortion Music Group]
Rating [3.5/5]
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson

The St. Louis quartet Bastard certainly doesn’t sound very, well, “St. Louis,” on their second full-length. Indeed, the band’s blackened thrash is a far cry from the butt-rock that seems to be in such favor in the fly-over states – if you’ll forgive the overgeneralizing. Kinda.

Bastard’s sound, instead, owes much more to the northern European likes of Aura Noir and Venom – and to a lesser extent Nifilheim, Impaled Nazarene or pre-Hammerheart Bathory – with a healthy dose of Motörhead, who began as Bastard before adopting the less “provocative” moniker under which they would then become legends. Circle of life.

Issued seven years after their debut full-length Hades Command, Rotten Blood is rude, crude, fast, loud and ugly – pretty much in equal measure. A couple chords, a turbo-charged beat and grinding bottom end are pretty much all the band provide for frontman Jason Barron to holler over about “Hellfire & Steel” and stuff like that. But that’s really all that is needed. That same sort of formula has – or had – worked just fine for all those mentioned above, and does so here as well.

The double-bass roll, cement-mixer bass combo kicks off the opener “Whipstrike” a la Motörhead’s “Overkill” in what would seem to be an obvious homage, and it’s off to the races from there. Scott Fogelbach’s ragged, buzz-sawing riffs make a perfect match for the gritty rhythms, as does Barron’s raspy vocalizing. Bastard’s rabble is built around a fairly standard old-school metal foundation, but is delivered most of the time with the urgency of a hardcore, though without the belligerence or breakdowns. It’s raucous, but it’s also catchy as hell, especially with the shout-along choruses of “Crescent Horn” or “Bewitched,” where the band revel in all things evil.

Same goes for “The Possession,” “Leather-bound Book Of Lies” and “Spellbound.” But while it often feels like the whole sacrilege thing is more for show than some truly Satanic bent, given the freewheeling nature of the material, the band’s zeal is genuine, so who knows. And in the end, who really cares?

The relative simplicity of the material, and Bastard’s single-minded, rough and tumble execution, can make the songs blend together over the long haul without the benefit of more gang-tackle choruses to provide a distinctive hook. But at 10 songs in just over 40 minutes, that’s by no means a fatal flaw. And if a no frills, no bullshit thrashing – with a side of Satanic smirk – is what you’re after, Rotten Blood will fill the bill and then some.



Track List
1. Whipstrike
2. Hellfire & Steel
3. The Possession
4. Leather-bound Book Of Lies
5. Crescent Horn
6. Protector
7. Under The Tattered Banners (Of Rock’n’ Roll)
8. Rotten Blood
9. Spellbound
10. Bewitched

Jason Barron – vocals
Scott Fogelbach – guitar
Tim Kutterer – bass
Jason Asberry – drums