Bloodloss - The Struggle Review
2nd Mar 2012
Now and again I break from my preferred writing style of the second person to produce something a little more personal and that is the case with Bloodloss’s debut mini album The Struggle in the introduction and conclusion. If you were to flick through my music collection there would be the classic rock bands such as Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin in there, then through to the slightly heavier doom metal of Cathedral or the trash metal of Pantera, but what is lacking is music that verges on the guttural in terms of its vocal stylings. However, in recent years instead of mellowing my musical tastes, I have begun to broaden them out name checking the likes of Hymns in my albums of the year and finding an appreciation for the likes of Blacklisters, run, WALK! and now Bloodloss.
Title track The Struggle looms into view with a huge slug of guitar and rapid riff driven drums, before Matt Hobbs throws his guttural vocals into the mix. There’s something a little modern about the twist with the music provided by Bloodloss, where there’s an electronic under current that blasts away at the underbelly whilst the rest of the band frantically keep the pace at high octane proportions. For all that Matt likes to growl his vocal delivery this is replaced midway through the track, when Matt’s delivery softens a little and allows The Struggle to have a small restbite as a cry heralds the dawn of a chorus. The guitar having up to this point added some nice riffs is allowed to float above the bass line and run a little solo into the piece, before shredding itself into a spiral notes which prompts a graphical vocal retort of “get the fuck out, stay the fuck out, look into my eyes”, a visceral vocal ending to a hugely impressive introduction.
This Still Remains doesn’t hold up on the relentless pace that Bloodloss are setting, again that complimentary blend of guttural vocal blitzes meld well with much cleaner vocal performances. The guitar solo returns with encapsulated blows of almost classical sounding notions, before spinning off into another complex shred. However, what spoils This Still Remains is its drift straight into Stand Alone. Yes you don’t need to have an album where each track has a subtle two seconds behind each track, but the considerably slower pace of Stand Alone just doesn’t feel like a track that should be bookened onto This Still Remains and the jump between the two tracks is just that, a jump. However, that should not detract from a different side to Bloodloss, where for all the pace increases and decreases in Stand Alone, it shows a much slower approach and allows Dave Smith to showcase some very rapid kick drum patterns which are worthy of mention as much as the guitar solos and shreds that permeated earlier tracks.
Reborn hones more of those classical influence and musically feels well structured, you should be realising by now that Bloodloss don’t just throw their instruments into a mix and blow them skywards, but instead construct heavy, rapid patterns which are discernible and no doubt headbangingly aching. The only gripe on The Struggle is the track Lost, which feels like a much shorter track elongated, with a rising and falling electronic sound that simply returns Lost to an earlier riff. Final track Paradise begins slow and surely, but surprisingly breaks into a guitar solo that becomes a double solo (is that possible?) allowing the drums to drag those primitive vocals back into the mix. Again it is that light and dark vocal choices that work so well with Paradise, the drums carrying out rapier like plunges before the shout of “go” provides sumptuous blitzes of thundering blocks of energy, before the guitars solo away in sheer majesty. The cleaner vocals return, but with the guttural ones responding in the background, which either indicates there’s more than Matt providing the vocals or multi-track recording which would be interesting to achieve live!
On this offering Bloodloss’s debut mini album The Struggle is anything, but a struggle. The wonderful fold out packaging for the CD adds to the overall impressive package on offer from this South London five-piece. Personally I’d like to thank Bloodloss from helping me to discover my heavier roots and for those not of the metal persuasion then give Bloodloss a try it might just surprise you.
Reviewed by Jimbo Walsh.
Bloodloss's debut mini-album The Struggle is out on 5 March 2012 and available to buy from the band's website.