Bloody Knives: Oh Yes, There Will Be Blood
I'm not sure what industrial shoegaze is, but Austin's Bloody Knives says that that's what they are. It's as good as anything I've got to describe them. Personally, I think they sound like Filter on codeine-strength cough medicine, all ethereal but cutting. Nothing shows this off better than their Bloody Knives' latest video, "Peeling the Skin Away," from the EP Death.
Directed by Matt Spear, "Skin" is a hard music video to watch for someone as squeamish to body horror as yours truly, but I powered through it because it's an incredibly deft bit of horror cinemaudio. The band makes a minimal appearance, appearing only in interspersed playing segments bathed in hellish fed light. The real story happens on an operating table.
There, a man is systematically, and in great detail, cut, mutilated, tortured, and God only knows what else. You never get a real solid look at the action, which focuses mostly on the bloodied tools, our victim's twitching form, and the girl performing the surgery.
Her face is maybe the most frightening thing about the whole thing. She neither smiles manically, nor expresses anger. Instead, she has the same expression that a hardcore knitter does when deep in a project. It's an uncanny calmness that calls to mind Eihi Shiina in Audition.
The video was supposed to be only one segment in a series of three, according to Spear.
"We were going to do multiple videos about a girl getting kidnapped then getting revenge but we never shot the other videos telling the rest of the story," he says. "This was the easiest video to shoot in the limited garage space at Preston's [Maddox, vocals/bass] house. Every video is shot in the corner of his cluttered garage with sheets hanging up."
That grindhouse DIY style actually pays off well. Death was supposed to be the audio story of a serial killer's journey, with the videos reflecting that. Instead, it's a more stripped down affair, shot on the cheap with whatever Maddox had lying around in his garage during a hot Texas day.
By the way, the victim was really being tortured. At least, if you consider being duct taped in a stuffy garage with no air conditioning for hours torture.
Watch this grisly video yourself on the next page.
It works, there's no doubt about it. It's like neo-Herschell Gordon Lewis right down to the obvious red paint used to portray blood and shot under harsh lights that turn the shadows into knife wounds. The basic story, according to Spear, is that of a woman taking unspeakable revenge on an abductor.
Maddox maintains that song is about a drugged victim waking up under anesthetic during a killing. Whichever way you slice it, "Peeling the Skin Away" is a tremendous short horror outing set over an equally impressive song. I look forward to more collaborations between Spear and Bloody Knives in the future.
MORE OF JEF'S VIDEO FINDS From Beyond, "At Midnight" (Dir. Joey Graham) Black Boots, "Streetwalkers" (Dir. Jeremy Cloe) Pinkunoizu's "I Chi" (Dir. Ewan Jones Morris) Two Star Symphony, "The Ninth Level" (Dir. Jerry Ochoa)
ROCKS OFF'S GREATEST HITS
Top 10 Bars, Clubs & Ice Houses In Upper Kirby 10 Totally Played Out Wedding Songs That Will Still Pack the Dance Floor at Your Reception Today's Musicians Have All Lost Their Damn Minds Top 10 Downtown Bars, Clubs & Ice Houses
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Houston, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.