Quest for Blood is structure and ultimate complexity, but also an insanity you have never experienced before. It is psychotic chaos and a gateway to the valley of nightmares, and the sweet and refreshing dream you thought you had forgotten. It obeys no rules of strict genres and makes no compromises based on conventional expectations of the average listener, but creates space of its own, far outside of everything. Quest for Blood reigns supreme in its own sonic realm.
This album offers a lot for those who are into the most experimental and extreme musical heaviness, but friends of traditional East Asian music will also experience a strange delight during this astonishing journey.
The oriental feeling becomes even richer with the presence of Yukihiro Isso. His magnificently traditional, but free-form sounding flute playing creates a whole new layer over the merciless mayhem of the band itself. Together they are able to travel from, what at times reaches, a mind blowing semi-cacophony to wonderful and calming sounds of the very roots of the Japanese music. This musical alchemy surely reflects several stages of the existence itself.
As Quest for Blood and Yukihiro Isso are most obviously “never heard” for many here in the mortal world, it might be wise to reveal something about their background.
Quest for Blood´s firm basis is the black metal band Magane. Even when the natural Asian elements and experimental spices gave them distance to the nekroic primitivity of your every-day-dose black metal filth, Magane were a bit easier to put to the same block with some other black hearted bands (which can not be said about Quest for Blood). Still, already on the Magane albums, there is brilliant originality and an adventurous approach to the music.
Magane recorded two of them. The first, Mortes Saltantes, was released in 1999, and the second, Beginning at the End, came out in 2003. Both albums came through two labels: Black Flame Records in USA and TRA Music in Taiwan. Magane shared the stage with likes of Merzbow, Marduk, Bastard Noise, Dark Funeral, and Biohazard.
Noh is a form of Japanese music theatre where three percussion instruments and a Noh-kan flute create the musical background to the dance of the characters in the play. Yukihiro Isso was born into a family of Noh flutists (hayashi-kata fue-kata). His family has continued its tradition since the 16th century. As for hundreds of years before, his father passed on the art to him. Yukihiro Isso is also a composer and plays as an avantgarde musician with masters like Keiji Haino and Tatsuya Yoshida. He plays, besides Noh-kan, shinobue, dengakubue, recorder and gemshorn.
After releasing the second album as Magane, Quest for Blood started their exploration for the new music, and fortunately met Yukihiro Isso. The collaboration bloomed in 2005, when sharing the stage with Kore Kyojin (TatsuyaYoshida) and Merzbow.
When listening to the overwhelming music, immortalized on this silver disc, one cannot but dream about experiencing this fine collaboration “live”. As long there is life, there is hope. Maybe one day the quest for blood of these Japanese sonic sorcerers will reach our peripheral regions too. Until then we are fortunate enough to mesmerize ourselves with this extraordinary work.
To cut it short: I love this album!
– Albert Witchfinder