Julie Christmas : Ridiculous and Full of Blood

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Julie Christmas Ridiculous and Full of Blood review

There’s no one thing that defines a person—we have many passions and, throughout life, we build ourselves from various trials and tales. Humans are complicated creatures—some might even say we are ridiculous creatures. Julie Christmas would likely agree. Whether we’re talking about her work with Made Out of Babies and Battle of Mice, her outstanding 2016 collaboration Mariner with Cult of Luna, or her stellar solo material, Julie Christmas has proven herself to be one of the most fascinating artists working in heavy music. 

Now 14 years following the release of her solo debut The Bad Wife, Christmas has dropped her sophomore follow-up, Ridiculous and Full of Blood. Its 10 tracks showcase an exciting and eclectic range of sound, which for longtime listeners, shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Backing Christmas throughout Ridiculous and Full of Blood is a band composed of extraordinary musicians: guitarist/vocalist Johannes Persson (Cult of Luna), drummer Chris Enriquez (Spotlights), bassist Andrew Schneider (KEN Mode/Unsane), guitarist John LaMacchia (Candiria), and keyboardist Tom Tierney. Together, they provide an intoxicating array of mesmerizing compositions that hit with equal doses of tranquility and heaviness. This combination is evident from the start with opener “Not Enough,” the percussions exuding this eerie contrast of minimalist abundance—low in volume but intense in frequency. This is followed by a slightly dissonant, yet creepy guitar rhythm that eventually gives way to Christmas’ vocals. 

Like The Bad Wife, Ridiculous and Full of Blood is full of jarring combinations of sound and style, Christmas’ band often opting for structure that’s technically layered and rarely straightforward. This is also apparent in the transition to and from songs, such as the shift from “Supernatural” to “The Ash.” While each track involves a baseline of droning/ambient instrumentation, how the band approaches this archetype of sound is different between each song. Whereas the band leans in on high-end theatricality for “Supernatural,” “The Ash” is more funereal and noise heavy in its droning density.

Cuts such as “Thin Skin” and “Blast” provide more of a relatively conventional take on post-metal’s sonic traits, the band and Christmas offering a gritty groove that provides a more accessible form of heaviness. For the most part though, the band’s sound transverses the mysterious waters of atmospheric noise, constructing these tremendous atmospheric backdrops that one can either throw their body into or immerse themselves in via more meditative means.

Christmas’s voice proves to remarkably adapt to these varying instrumental blends; throughout her career, the versatility of Christmas’s voice has always been one of her most powerful tools, alongside her captivating lyrics. Much like her band’s instrumental combinations and contrasts, her vocals also involve similar unique qualities; one can hear this in the way she screeches a heartfelt line, or in how she somberly sings about some form of pain. These unique contrasts also represent the layers of Christmas as an individual, which are likewise reflected in her lyrics, all of which are tied together through the complexities that come with being human. 

With each of her projects, Julie Christmas ends up creating something special, and Ridiculous and Full of Blood is no exception. With this album, Christmas and her band invite you to simply listen; that might seem obvious, all music is intended to be heard, but the listening here isn’t just about music—it’s about living. Take a moment to listen to yourself at work, listen to yourself when you’re with your loved ones, listen to the liminality of your walks as you go and come from other activities. It might sound ridiculous, but it will also sound beautiful.

Label: Red Creek

Year: 2024

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