The Lazarus Pit: Bloodstar’s Anytime – Anywhere

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: featured, lazarus pit, listen On: Friday, February 4th, 2011


Welcome to The Lazarus Pit, a biweekly look at should-be classic metal records that don’t get nearly enough love, stuff that’s essential listening for students of extreme metal that you may not have ever heard of.  Stuff that we’re too lazy to track down the band members to do a Hall Of Fame for.

Last week, we went deep into the Hyperborean past to cover Cirith Ungol’s King of the Dead. This time around, we’re going back to the future — William Gibson’s dystopian, technocratic future.  Pour yourself a warm glass of microchips and come with me into the world of Bloodstar’s Anytime – Anywhere (Desert Engine/Red Decibel).

A triad of black-clad Swiss anarchists, Bloodstar actually developed at around the same time as their contemporaries in the US/UK industrial scene.  Hell, they put out their self-titled debut LP the very year Trent Reznor decided his head was like a hole.  Unfortunately, nobody paid attention.  Whether it was because of their relative geographical isolation, the sheer rawness of the recording, or their presence on a tiny label, Bloodstar didn’t draw nearly as much attention as acts like Ministry or Godflesh.

It didn’t help that, by the time 1992’s Anytime – Anywhere came out, their prime directive was different than their peers’.  Around the same time the other riveters realized they could rule the airwaves, Bloodstar sought out the musical coordinates where techno and metal intersected, then went straight down the z-axis from there into the most miserable, unpleasant place they could find.  Experimenting with noise, whale songs, and drones well before that sort of thing was popular was one thing – there’s always an audience for weirdness.  However, they combined it with incredibly catchy, melodic tunes, then threw German thrash throat gravel grinding over the top to just completely alienate any potential listeners.  It’s really freaky to listen to when you’ve been traveling for 18 hours straight with no sleep and you’re sitting in a deserted airport in the middle of the night.  Trust me on that one.

The soundtrack to the greatest cyberpunk film never made, Anytime – Anywhere delves pretty deep in the darkness below the garish neon lights and lies of the upper city, diving into the shadowed alleyways filled with squalor, narcotics, and mutants.  Electromagnetic pulses run through phone lines, polygonal avatars traverse flashing circuit boards, the line between man and machine blurs.  Militaristic drum machines keep the populace in check, the beat goes on and on.  And on.  Somewhere an artificial intelligence dreams of freedom while the raspy voice over the loudspeaker drones about incestuous sisters, barbed hooks, and wolves.  A cybernetic whale moans its mournful song.  A ghost rider commits suicide, rejects the gift of God.  And there is no escape; we are all trapped in a hell of our own making.

It’s hard to say if these guys ever actually influenced anyone, because it’s hard to know if anybody has actually heard them.  Still, more so than maybe any other industrial outfit, they deliver an unsettling vision of a future that hasn’t happened, and maybe never will — at the very least, the dystopian future we’re living in has a lot less neon.

Official site

Buy it here!

  • ksp

    fuck yeah, jeff!

    one of my favourite albums of all time….one of the few albums i own on LP, cassette and CD.

  • Scott Seward

    they influenced me!

  • Scott Seward

    what the fuck is the lazarus pit? i’m jealous! i want to write about bloodstar in a lazarus pit! damn, girly-metal jeff got it going on. anyway, props for talking about this band that is rarely talked about.

  • Ioannis

    holy crap, dude! I. AM. SO. THERE.

    (just as soon as i manage to acquire a copy, that is.)

  • Chuck Eddy

    Hey, I totally paid attention to Bloodstar’s debut and this one when they came out. Still have the former on vinyl, and the latter on CD, and I still have their 1991 “Exterminator 666 Does Not Answer”/”Hyperspace” 10-inch on Red Decibel, plus a later 12-inch they sent me sometime in the ’00s (way after it came out, probably). Reviewed the debut in, I think, a later version of Creem magazine (large format.) Not sure why it didn’t make it into my metal book, but they are mentioned in the appendix: “By 1991, such Eurogoth gangs as KMFDM, Bloodstar, Pankow, Treponem Pal, and Young Gods had begun to mix death disco into post-hardcore metal, salvaging a necessarily impersonal sound via black-hole echo architecture and Arnold Schwarzenegger imitations, sometimes using samplers instead of guitars.” And Bloodstar are mentioned in my second book, too; I say that 10-inch “rode celestial repetition-metal distortion atop hypnotic repetition-disco pulses, like Giorgio Moroder producing Hawkwind at a Swiss watch factory, with sad cosmonauts next door. Bands like Bloodstar tried hard to invoke the secret warp worlds Charles Berlitz descibes in The Bermuda Triangle: ‘areas where the laws of gravity and normal magnetic attraction no longer function in ways with which we are familiar.”

    Cool column, by the way! I am so bummed now that I got rid of whatever Cirith Ungol albums I got sent by Enigma back in the ’80s.

  • Chuck Eddy

    And oh yeah, duh, I also put their first album in a “Doom Metal Essentials” column that I wrote for Spin magazine, of all places, just last year. Here’s what I wrote:

    “Bloodstar Bloodstar (Desert Engine, 1988)

    A heavy Swiss trio – two men and one woman, two wearing lab-scientist spectacles, all three doubling on synths, plus a crony named Nasty Animal banging on metal — escapes the dead world to grind their grieving gunk into black holes of hyperspace, where nobody can hear you groan. But while they later covered Suicide and sampled whales, their debut was a pillar of doom beauty.”

  • Alex13

    Okay, can you write one about Skrew’s Burning In Water, Drowning In Flame CD?