Julie Christmas- Ridiculous And Full Of Blood (Album Review)

June 14, 2024


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Listen to Julie Christmas

If you listened to everything from noise rock to post hardcore in the mid-2000s to early 2010’s, chances are good that you came across Julie Christmas and the different bands she was associated with.  Whether it was the post hardcore and noise rock leaning Made Out of Babies or the short-lived sludge/post metal Battle of Mice, the work Christmas was involved with generated quite a bit of buzz.  When both of those groups ended, she would go on to release a solo album titled The Bad Wife in 2010, as well as the extremely well received collaboration with Cult of Luna in 2016 Mariner.  But just as all this momentum seemed to be building Julie Christmas largely disappeared from the music space, occasionally resurfacing for live activity.  Last year the first sign of life in some time came in the form of the song “Not Enough”, and now fourteen years after The Bad Wife listeners finally have a follow-up.  Ridiculous And Full Of Blood finds her joining forces with musicians who have played with the likes of Cult of Luna, Spotlights, Pigs, and Candiria, resulting in an album that’s arguably even more metal leaning than some of her prior work while still providing plenty of unexpected flourishes.

Despite how much ground Ridiculous And Full Of Blood covers over the course of its ten songs, it manages to have a more cohesive flow compared to The Bad Wife and uses all the tools in its arsenal to keep the listener engaged no matter how soft or loud a particular moment is.  Opener “Not Enough” opens with a strong emphasis on percussion and sparser instrumentation but explodes into a flurry of haunting melodies and a booming low end.  It’s somewhere between the jagged edges of noise rock and alternative rock hooks, and this type of genre bending stands out the further into the album you get.  “Supernatural” leans a bit more into 2000s hard rock and alternative metal, sometimes giving off hints of A Perfect Circle or Chevelle but channeling them through slower, methodical build-ups that are closer to post metal.  Tracks like “End of the World” and “The Lighthouse” go for a similar approach as the Cult of Luna collaboration but in a more concise fashion, making effective use of softer, muted textures before exploding into destructive peaks.  Other unexpected elements are present on “Kids” and “Blast”, as the former has some whimsical melodies while the latter is a fast-paced barrage of noise rock and punk riffs.  Even compared to Julie Christmas’ prior material the way the fusion of soft and heavy elements comes together feels unique and hard to bucket into one specific genre, but there’s always a particular melody or crushing peak that gets got stuck in my head and compelled me to come back for more. 

There is certainly plenty of substance to the instrumentation on Ridiculous And Full Of Blood and Julie Christmas has quite the talented supporting cast in that regard, but what once again sets her solo material over the edge is the depth of the vocal work.  Christmas has the ability to go from more somber, beautiful singing into banshee-esque screams without warning, and even a decade and a half removed from The Bad Wifeshe sounds absolutely fantastic.  Songs like “Supernatural” and “Silver Dollars” feature singing that is genuinely haunting and seems to hover over the recording with a powerful presence even at its softest levels, and there are some backing screams at key moments from her bandmates that provide some added depth.  I also particularly like “The Ash”, which generates a bit of whiplash thanks to the mix of harsher screams and genuinely beautiful singing.  In addition to providing guitars for the album Cult of Luna’s Johannes Persson provides vocals on “End of the World” and “The Lighthouse”, and his booming growls once again pair well with Christmas.

Fourteen years is a long time between albums, but Julie Christmas has made the wait worth it.  Ridiculous And Full Of Blood is stunning from beginning to end, and whether it’s doubling down on the noise and metallic sheen or opting for some quirkier melodies and sparser instrumentation there’s a consistent flow that makes all the fusions of different genres come off as natural.  There are a lot of nuances to discover over repeat listens as well as immediate hooks, making this a must for fans of Christmas’ prior work or anyone with a taste for anything noise rock or post metal adjacent.  Ridiculous And Full Of Blood is available from Red Crk.

-Review by Chris Dahlberg