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Birth A.D. started their scathing crossover-thrash assault back in 2009 with the "Stillbirth of a Nation" ep, and returned angrier, hungrier, and more level-headed on their Sophomore debut "I Blame You". For those new to this band's content, Birth A.D. mixes the guitar and drum work of Slayer with S.O.D.-on-steroids lyrics delivered with a Dr. Know-esque shouting style. The band essentially takes the songs from "Stillbirth of a Nation", re-energizes them with slick production, and interlaces newer and just as aggressive material between, making for a balanced album in both quality and consistency that warrants repeated listening.
Lyrical topics range from general destruction of overall societal failure (I Blame You, Short Bus Society, Fill In The Blank, Failed State) to more personal scenarios (This Scene Sucks, Wrong Again). The members of this band have no shortage of targets, including the state of retro-current, fashion-oriented speed-metal (Mission Statement), slackers who cut corners (Parasites Die, Equal Opportunity), and overzealous patriots (Popular War) just to name a few. No doubts here that this album will offend plenty of people in its honesty, but no one can deny how the songs themselves, while very current, will probably stick with you for years and years to come, as both contemporary and eternally relevant.
The vocal delivery, at times, is surprisingly less articulate than the original cuts on "Stillbirth of a Nation", but smacks with more venom and punch to cover proverbial tracks. The crowd shouts on songs like "Popular War" are delivered with more said punch as well, both keeping with tradition and turning the energy up even higher. Drums are definitely more balanced and self-assured than the freshman-output, with deliciously tight d-beats, rolling fills, and blasting that modern metalheads have come to love. Guitar playing is less thick and more in the front than the previous output, the riffs and song structures themselves obviously are collage-d from the timeless thrash and speed shredders from the past, but remain somehow distinctly fresh and in a class of their own, much like the band as a whole.
In conclusion, rarely does an album these days inspire me to pick up a guitar and get back to work. If you are one of those jaded individuals who feels like the current metal and punk scene has little-to-nothing to offer you, Birth A.D. is a shot of adrenaline straight into the brain.
Birth A.D.‘s 2009 debut EP, Stillbirth of a Nation left me craving for more, with the high energy and high intensity punk-infused style of thrash metal. The band this year finally returns after four long years with a brand new album I Blame You as the debut release under the new Dark Descent Records sub-label, Unspeakable Axe. With Dark Descent Records’ reputation of releasing good music, this certainly bodes well for the band, having gone through numerous obstacles along the way leading up to the release of the album.
Fans of bands such as Municipal Waste are gonna love I Blame You, as the band’s music is fast and furious, not unlike the aforementioned, and even the vocals of of Jeff are rather similar to Tony Foresta, as he spits out his lyrics with hate and spite. At the same time, songs like Mission Statement see the band giving a slight nod to bands like Slayer in the song progression, though what is present over here is much more straightforward and has a much higher presence of a somewhat punkish attitude in the energy that is emanated. Throughout the album though, the band manages to ensure that the experience is as mosh-friendly as possible, with the tunes on I Blame You being mostly catchy as fuck, with plenty of fist-pumping moments throughout.
The drums of Mark stands out in the band though, and apart from the usual punkish beats that are utilised, there are moments where he goes into an almost grindcore style, with the heavy usage of blast beats and rolls that are more akin to a death metal style like on Violent Retribution, though things are obviously much faster and much more intense over here. To be honest, this is one of the most enjoyable things on the record, and he certainly provides much of the energy that is present on the album.
Lyrics-wise, the band sticks to their usual themes of social commentary and some slight political rants, though songs like Wrong Again provide some (perhaps unintentional) comic relief, with the spoken sample in the middle of the track never failing to give me a chuckle whenever I listen to the track.
While there are a couple of songs that the band has reused from Stillbirth of a Nation, there is sufficient new material over here. But with the quality of the music that the band has already presented on their EP, who cares if some of the material are reused, as long as it provides for a moshing good time?