Bloodclot! - Up In Arms - (7/10)
Published on July 28, 2017
Genre:Hardcore / Crossover / Punk
Label:Metal Blade Records
I’m not sure what makes a band name worthy of an exclamation point. Are we supposed to shout it all the time? I’d highly recommend doing that in your head throughout this review to heighten the comic effect. This intriguing semi-supergroup first appeared on the scene over ten years ago, releasing a chunky, groovy slice of metal in the shape of Burn Babylon Burn! Satisfying enough, but what happened then? An artistic coma befell the potential of Bloodclot! and they only broke their silence recently with the news of a whole new full-length album entitled Up In Arms. Considering the crew consists of members of Cro-Mags (including the inimitable Nick Oliveri on bass), you won’t be surprised to learn that it sounds a bit like Cro-Mags with a hefty dose of punk attitude. The Metal Archives has them labelled as ‘groove metal/metalcore’, but within three seconds it becomes obvious this is a gross error
What’s on offer here is some down-to-the-bone crossover crusty hardcore with a heavy punk influence. The raw tone of the guitars, combined with the clamorous drums and clangy bass is just the right foundation of noise for John Joseph to spit his fiery lyrics of rage over. It’s been a while since a vocalist of this genre moved me in this way, but the pure vitriol emanating from Joseph is refreshing, especially at the end of “Slipping Into Darkness” and all through “Life As One” – very Agent Orange. Song lengths very rarely exceed 2 minutes. with a few exceptions, but the brevity of the entire affair is in many ways for its own benefit. As for variety, forget it, this is crossover/hardcore for fuck sake. Up-tempo punk beats, scathing power chords and simplistic vocal patterns are the order of the day, but Bloodclot! make them sound as professional as you like. The shortest tracks such as “Fire” and “Kali” are the perfect showcases for the timbre of the album.
The album art is slightly off-putting, and may be the reason the ‘Clot have been wrongly-labelled; it doesn’t prepare the listener at all for the incoming vibrant assault. Bookending the LP are the two longest songs, namely the title-track and “You’ll Be The Death Of Me”. These are where some explorative songwriting can be heard, with much welcome changes in pace. Similarly, the half-time rocking of “Manic” is a breath of fresh air amongst the maelstrom of rapid fire tempos. There may be a case for arguing the relevance of this sub-genre today, but at least there are candidates like Bloodclot! standing up for its primal approach. If you’re looking for substance, philosophy and extensive structures – then about turn! Up In Arms is a competently-performed slab of aggressive grittiness, but after the success of Municipal Waste’s most recent output earlier this year, it may get swept under the carpet.