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Retro-thrash metal is becoming quite popular nowadays, with loads of bands all over the world taking in the grand style of the legendary 80's bands that created some of the best music ever to be conjured. Bands like Evile playing that semi-progressive, thickly produced thrash metal like ...And Justice For All or Heathen's sophomore album, Fueled by Fire playing a largely old school Bay Area worship, Avenger of Blood sucking Kreator's dick, Municipal Waste trying to be the next Hirax, Merciless Death worshipping the song they stole their name from, Toxic Holocaust bringing in the older style of early thrash metal that later influenced extreme metal, and Violator heralding the vibe of pure thrash back. There are bands in this retro-thrash wave that cover every form and every style of thrash that's ever been done before. So when someone holds a physical copy of Bonded by Blood's debut album, Feed the Beast any true thrasher will automatically jump to conculsions and think of classics like Another Lesson in Violence or Piranha and denim and leather. Any true thrasher's mind will automatically be lead to Exodus's legendary debut album, Bonded by Blood. Any true thrasher will also be happy, because with all these hints to Exodus worship they will want to throw this CD in right away and start headbanging. So now the big question is, is this excellent Exodus worship?
Well the short answer is no. This isn't exactly early Exodus worship, there certainly is Bay Area influence and it's more along the lines of "modernized retro-thrash", if that makes sense. There is a lot of what makes up newer Exodus' sound in here, from albums like Shovel Headed Killing Machine and the most recent Atrocity Exhibition Exhibit A. With Bonded by Blood's debut, you could basically take Exodus' newest album, subtract the groove influences, add more thrash and you will have Extinguish the Weak. The lead guitar work is very similar to Gary Holt's amazing solos and leads and is more of the old school style brought in with the modernized production sound. The drumming is almost a similar style of Tom Hunting's double bass pummelling and intense drum fills as well as the powerful bass thundering in at times when called for. The rhythm guitar work here, as in the heavy and crunchy riffing is a lot like new Exodus as well, but instead of playing washed up and used groove riffs, there are loads of older school Bay Area worship style riffing here, which is in no way original or unique, but it's fresher and and faster. Bonded by Blood's vocalist Jose "Aladdin" Baralles is an excellent thrash vocalist, in fact, I wish most thrash vocalists sounded as awesome as him, instead of a monotonous, boring thrash attack. The unique and high pitched yet nasally vocals of Aladdin here are fucking wicked. I can only imagine this is what Kai Hansen would sound like if he did thrash metal.
The songs on here range from really fucking good, to good listening, to simple filler. The kickass songs are compiled early on with the fast and intense Immortal Life, with the heavy and insane drumming and Psychotic Pulse, the amazing yelled chorus and headbang worthy lead riff that kicks in at about 20 seconds. The "gang" yelled vocals are present here and at times throughout the album, which is something I love in thrash metal, so those who enjoy good backing vocals should check this out as well. Self Immolation has another cool drum solo opening, leading into fast riffing and more great lead work; something that is also a highlight on the album. There are a few songs that justify as filler, that remind me of songs that are simply more of just the same song with main riff then the chorus and blah blah solo/drum solo and end song, but still it's quite an enjoyable listen, even if they count as filler and don't live up to the rest of the good songs on the album.
Bonded by Blood are really not breaking boundaries and really have a knack for creating some decent riffs, heavy drumming and top notch vocals. Their debut is a decent listen, especially for those who enjoy Bay Area type thrash and retro-thrash worship; the only drawback I find that a lot of thrashers might fall back on is the crispy production, like Evile's production on steroids. Well not really, but it's clean and has a modern guitar tone, but still playing some sweet riffing, it might be hard for some to get used to. But still, I highly recommend this to anyone enjoying this wave of retro-thrash, Bonded by Blood have loads of fun on this release and I suggest you checking it out for a good listen. There are some boring songs and yeah there are a few drawbacks, but in the end Feed the Beast is a fun listen. Plus, these guys throw in a funny as hell thrash cover of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme song because god dammit, they love pizza.
Edited for factual mistake.