U.S. Christmas – Bad Heart Bull

By Gruesome Greg

This record is where it all began for U.S. Christmas (now known as USX), released independently back in ’04 on CDR, and now reissued by Play The Assassin on limited-edition vinyl. The band, which became known for their participation on a three-way Hawkwind tribute split a couple years back, and more recently released a one-track, 40-minute album, Dopesmoker-style, was certainly more raw and less refined here than what you hear today.

That’s not to say this record doesn’t have its moments. The swirling psychedelic solo near the end of “New War” offers a hypnotic effect while “Gallows Humour” is a haunting, trippy tune, semi-acoustic, semi-spacerock. “Black Snake” shows shades of Dead Meadow, while the vibe in “Lazarus” almost echoes Pink Floyd, albeit with a much gruffer vocal. The album ends on a bit of strange note, though, with a 10-minute clip of found sounds consisting of chugging, banging, hammering and other industrial noise. Kinda kills the buzz a bit, if you ask me…

(Play The Assassin)

Sean Palmerston

Sean is the founder/publisher of Hellbound.ca; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.