He is similar in style to Mark Lanegan in the way that a smokey voice engulfs the audience and pulls them deeper into the abyss. Riggs on We Sing Of Only Blood Or Love opens with “Demon Tied To A Chair In My Brain.” It is nearly somber as an introduction and becomes this perfect ending from one life to the next.
As the instrumentation involves Riggs primarily being sunken inside this acoustic guitar trap. He is ensnared by these subtle plucks and minimal electric guitar in the backing. As Riggs continues to repeat as if it was some twisted reminder or mantra, “Demon tied to a chair in my brain, blackbird a tapping on the windowpane.” As he loses the subtly and instead adopts a more abrasive instrumental full of percussion and overwhelming walls of noise, he screams, “My skeleton is meltin’, my soul is in flames. Demon tied to a chair in my brain.”
Using J.T. Van Zandt for the acoustic guitar, Andy MacLeod covers the percussion and works nearly hand-in-hand with Matt Sweeney to create a groove section with bass and electric guitar. We Sing Only Of Blood Or Love is a much different animal than Acid Bath and the change doesn’t fully abandon that low-tuned and sadistic style. However, Riggs is a much more cohesive and approachable figure than he was previously.
Pieces like “Night Is The Notion” trade harsh and hellish instrumentation for beautiful progression in a grim sense of the word. Painted like a macabre illustration, Riggs is sluggish to start but uses “Night Is The Notion” to be one of the strongest performances on We Sing Of Only Blood Or Love. Describing through tense chords, “Night is the notion, everything sleeps beneath. We are the explosion in which lies the dream. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. Maybe it dies or maybe baby it don’t.”
While the death metal ripping and animalistic tearing of sound are missing here, We Sing Of Only Blood Or Love is an experimentalist nightmare or dreamscape. On one hand, pieces like “Truth In The Dark” are messages of harder rock with pounding percussion and a real stomping rhythm.
Then in other graces of the same face, tracks like “Living Is Suicide” are hopeless breaks into the bleak but somehow uplifting instrumentation. Rather than low tones, Riggs instead adopts to push forward these chord structures that reflect higher pitches and methods of progression instead of regression.
While We Sing Of Only Blood Or Love is 15 tracks, the record is only 35 minutes and is just shy of being the quickest noose to tie. Living can be hell and Riggs takes We Sing Of Only Blood Or Love as not the assignment of chains but is instead a breaking of those same chains.