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LABEL: Radikal Records RELEASE DATE: July 9, 2002 GENRE: Hard Trance, Acid, Chillout
// review by SoyBomb

Maybe a little chilly.

Before they switched over to generic electro house tunes before pretty much dissipating into thin air, Voodoo & Serano were masters of their own acid sound. When their seminal hit "Blood Is Pumpin'" dropped in 2000, people turned their heads and listened...and rocked out! Two years later came a full album, "Cold Blood". Let's see if it's worth a listen today.

Cold Blood gets right into it with Slice (Intro), a track that throws several acid effects at us, combined with a trancy backing pad, to let us know that the event is about to begin. Right after, we're thrust into Blood Is Pumpin', perhaps the most popular track on the album. Looks like we actually get the full "Pumpin' Clubmix" version on here, rather than a shortened album version, which is a plus. The track slowly builds up with some gruff acid jabs before a dark voice speaks the words we all wanted to hear: "Blood is pumpin'..." (I think that's a good thing. Otherwise, we might be dead.) Rising synth effects lead to the hardcore acid rhythms, accompanied by a funky breakbeat. There isn't much in the way of melodic advancement until a little over halfway through, when V&S throw some light pad harmonies our way to diversify the otherwise monotone track. The acid makes one more round into our ears before we wind down the tune. For fans of the 303 acid sound, Blood Is Pumpin' will definitely be a pleaser.

Slide To The Vibe is a top favourite of mine ever since listening to the track walking to school in the early 2000s. As interesting as the main melody is, there's really only one reason to listen to Slide To The Vibe: the audio-shearing siren that occurs twice in the tune. No matter how many times I hear it, that siren grips me, its hardcore wail calling out in the night. Plus, you get funky breakbeat AND silly little DJ scratches to fill in the gaps. Definitely worth the listen.

As gruff as the previous two tracks are, the tone almost jarringly switches with Particular Beach, filled with the sounds of the beach, of the tide rolling in, as an Ibiza-inflused bassline underlines piano plucks and spacy strings, all dotted with yet another funky beat. It's unlike the acid we've come to expect thus far, but if you just want to chill on the beach, this one could be a great ambient companion piece.

This Is Acid follows a similar pattern to Blood Is Pumpin', with a buzzing buildup featuring that same sweet acidic 303 sound. And as a dark voice tells us that, indeed, "this is… acid…", the acid rhythm slides in to get rear ends moving in time. And, similarly once again, an unrelated melody filters its way in to provide relief from the 303, which would become otherwise annoying for a few minutes straight. It's nothing special, but it does fill a bit of time. Meanwhile, When I Rock takes a different approach by pushing into hardstyle/hard dance territory with a more bubbly bass introduction before cranking up the even bubblier acid ripples. But because this is about "when I rock", some weird guy straight out of a Prodigy tribute band tells us about what happens when he rocks before a straightforward trance synth delivers the goods. Surprisingly, there are no electric guitars, which would've made sense from such a "rock"-in' title. The track's not bad, but it's not a highlight of the album.

Next is Stay Awake, which starts out more in Mauro Picotto territory than anything else. There are two notable parts to this song. One is the use of a tough jabbing acid that tries to burrow into your psyche. The other is a creepy voice tells about how DJs take "special pills to stay awake for several days". Uh, good to know. Neither really pushes track into catchy territory, so it's easily skippable. Then Loss of Innocence pulls the album into a more trance-laden state with a very standard dance buildup before leading into a Café Del Mar-style arpeggiated melody. It has a very generic feel and also doesn't quite stand out, although it's nice to hear that Voodoo & Serano aren't so heavily glued to their acid sound.

Well, I would LIKE to say that, but the title track, Cold Blood, follows the same formula as songs like Blood Is Pumpin' and This Is Acid, leading to another 303-focused rhythmic monotone tune, although the new melody that follows here is a bit darker than other tunes. Still, this one feels just like the others and can't really stand out. There's also Overload. Later released as a single with more vocals, here we have the raw, beta version with its flangy honky-tonk tune that shows they were still in the mood to track something non-acidic. I'll admit, I prefer this version without the cheesy vocals. It won't blow you away, but at least it won't make you need a date with the toilet bowl afterward like the single version.

We're soon at the end, but not before hearing My Decision, one of my favourite tracks on the album. The buildup probably won't impress, but for some reason, the simple but catchy main theme hooked me from the get-go. The track is solid hard dance worthy of a spin. But the end does come with Dreams, another chillout tune to relax to, along the same lines as an ATB track. Focusing on calming pads, distant pan flutes, and chilled marimbas, all over a tribal breakbeat, Dreams does elicit the feeling of a dreamstate, and is a smooth way to conclude the album.

Voodoo & Serano never made a second album beyond this, unless you consider "Back For More (Cold Blood: The Collector's Edition)", a modified version featuring a few track swaps and some bonus music videos. They eventually took a more mainstream electro direction before fading into obscurity. 'Tis a shame; they knew how to drop some serious acid and weren't afraid to experiment with opposing styles. Cold Blood has a little something for everyone. Not every track is a winner, but for a debut album, they showed off quite a few talents in one small package.

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