BLOOD FARMERS  Headless Eyes  LP   (Patac Records)   21.98

Back in stock. Definitely not in a rush to get their albums out, Headless Eyes is only the second album to come from the New York doom metal outfit Blood Farmers, who have been slogging around since around 1989. The last time we heard these guys, it was their cult 1995 album that came out on the legendary Hellhound Records, the label that was home to some of the best underground doom of the late 80s/early 90s including Saint Vitus, Count Raven and a host of Maryland outfits like The Obsessed, Internal Void, Unorthodox, and Revelation. Blood Farmers stuck out amongst this esteemed company with a dirtier, darker vibe, heavily steeped in the imagery and aesthetics of classic horror and exploitation cinema, which makes since seeing how band leader Dave Szulkin is one of the guys behind Grindhouse Releasing (Cannibal Holocaust, The Beyond, Gone with the Pope). And thanks to their grittier, heavier sound, their music has aged a bit better than many of their peers, devoid of the grungy qualities that some of those early 90s doom metal bands shared. Now featuring former Toxik drummer Tad Leger on the skins, Blood Farmers unleash one hell of a crushing psychdoom onslaught here on Headless Eyes (the title taken from Kent Bateman's 1971 psycho-sexual sleazefest), obviously beholden to the seminal slow-mo metal of Black Sabbath and the later dark heaviness of bands like Saint Vitus and Trouble, but they bury their bilious boogie beneath a thick layer of murk and bone-rattling sludge and grindhouse sleaze. Guitarist Szulkin unleashes a gnarly tone with his menacing, miserable riffs, and singer/bassist Eli Brown flattens everything beneath the lumbering grooves that he carves out alongside Leger's sauropod tempos.

The songs frequently drift into a hazy psychedelia, shifting from the sludgy, sinister doom into languid acid guitar and watery, FX-addled singing that wind through the more subdued moments of songs like the title track, and the band also effectively incorporates fragments of film dialogue and other samples from 60's and 70's era horror films, layering these elements to dramatic effect during some of those trippy passages to lead up to when the band crashes back in with their massive heaviness. They also kick things into faster, more furious form with brief eruptions of garagy, wah-drenched mayhem, and unfurl some killer harmonized leads like that which soars over the spacey darkness of "The Creeper", an entirely instrumental song of eerie psychedelia. Then there's the nocturnal lysergic rush of "Night Of The Sorcerers", a ten minute epic that kicks off with some almost raga-like guitar before shifting into a sinister melody with sweeping synthesizer accompaniment, like some trippy take on 80's style horror soundtrack music filtered through a wicked space rock filter and gobs of monstrous glacial heaviness, dragging their sky-streaking instrumental jam into a punishing groovy. And it ends with a stunning cover of "The Road Leads To Nowhere" from legendary cinematic beast David Hess, which most probably recognize from the score to Wes Craven's notorious early shocker The Last House On The Left; at first it sounds as if the band is going to do a straight acoustic version of the song, but when they all crash in, transforming it into a haunting doom metal epic, it's just fuckin' KILLER. These guys had a lot in common with what was going on down in Maryland during the early 90s, which makes it perfectly natural that Hellhound would have worked with Blood Farmers on their first album. But that early stuff and this new album all deliver a grittier, grislier (not to mention flat out heavier) take on that sound that has aged much better than a lot of traditional doom from that era - listening to the sheer crushing weight of these songs, and it's easy to see why Szulkin was recently tapped to play on the new album from Japanese doomlords Church Of Misery.