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With very few exceptions, joke or gimmick bands have always had an extremely short shelf life in the pop marketplace. There was really no need for a second album by the faux reggae Led Zeppelin cover band Dread Zeppelin, for example. But then, most joke bands don't have a genuinely smart, clever idea behind them, and that's why Bloodhag have prevailed for over a decade as the world's foremost combination of literary criticism and thrashy speed metal. Dubbing their particular style of music "edu-core," Bloodhag started in 1995 as a collaboration between Jake Stratton and Jeff McNulty, two science fiction fans who owned a collectibles store in Seattle together. Having long noticed how many of their beloved metal and hardcore bands used science fiction and fantasy authors such as Michael Moorcock and J.G. Ballard as source material for their lyrics, Stratton and McNulty decided to take their literary appreciation directly to the people, writing hardcore-length, metal-speed, and factually accurate biographies of some of their favorite authors in the style. With Stratton on vocals, McNulty on guitar, and a drum machine they respectfully dubbed Philthy "Drum Machine" Taylor in honor of Motörhead's mighty timekeeper, the duo released the four-track The Dewey Decibel System EP in 1997. For the follow-up EP Hooked on Demonics, bassist Zachary Orgel was added to the group, followed by real live drummer Brent Carpenter for 2000's all female authors extravaganza Gorgeous Ladies of Writing. An increasingly notorious live act (which included the hurling of pulp science fiction paperbacks into the crowd during gigs) and the adoption of properly doomy metal nicknames like Deus Ex Libris the Plagiarazor (McNulty), Grimoire the Expectorator (Stratton), Logos the Rythmaticist (Orgel), and Codex 23 the Chronomaster (Carpenter) preceded their 2001 debut full-length, Necrotic Bibliophilia. A lengthy delay between releases followed, although a full-length album called Appetite for Deconstruction was reportedly completed; in the meantime, the band maintained a dual career playing for straight metal audiences and as entertainment during literary and educational conferences. Alternative Tentacles signed Bloodhag prior to the release of their second full-length, 2007's Hell Bent for Letters. ~ Stewart Mason


1995 in Seattle, WA

Years Active:

'90s, '00s