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Following on from my review of Gama Bomb's "Citizen Brain" last week comes their Earache brothers-in-arms Bonded by Blood, who hail from the rather more recognised Thrash hotspot of LA. To some, Earache appear to have been jumping on the Thrash bandwagon with their signing of these two, as well as Evile, SSS, Violator and Municipal Waste, however I disagree as it's good to see their support for a fledgling scene such as this, as well as possessing the strength give it the push it deserves. Of course however, Earache, like everyone else, cannot be sure if their investments in the 21st Century Thrash kids will be a lasting success or whether the scene will die a death similar to the one that befell the 'first wave' of Thrash which was destroyed in the late 80's, rather ironically, by the emergence of Earache-backed Death Metal bands Entombed, Morbid Angel and Carcass.
Whatever the reason might have been for BBB's signing Earache cannot fail to have been impressed with their youthful exuberance and clear dedication to their art as from the moment "Feed the Beast" blasts out in a fury of galloping Thrash indulgence one gets the impression this is a band determined take the original blueprints and create their own style from it, even if that has yet to be perfected on this their debut album. Thrash has always relied upon the oft-nasally pissed off sounding vocals rather than pure growls and as a point Jose "Aladdin" Barrales sits atop a magical carpet of expression and vigour in his voice, accompanying the music perfectly in a style part Sean Killian (Vio-Lence) and part John Connelly (Nuclear Assault) which surely wouldn't have gone amiss in these two old greats. No doubt anyone with a basic knowledge of Thrash would recognise these boys' chosen band name as a clear allegiance to one of the Thrash originators but there is less Exodus worship going on here than expected as the aggression levels are beyond even them, with Vio-Lence and Overkill bearing most similarity to the speed and sense of rhythm evident in "Tormenting Voices", "Necropsy" and "Self Immolation". In Alex Lee, BBB have also got themselves a mighty fine lead guitarist willing and able to keep control of his solos against a rhythm section rarely allowing the band or even myself the listener a badly needed catch of breath.
It can only be said that the abrasive riffing backed up by a massive wall of solid skin-pounding and bass lines, a speed of vocal delivery I've not heard since Dark Angel's "Leave Scars", and a production rougher round the edges than any of the other new Thrash bands, result in "Feed the Beast" being a massively intense listen and intensely addictive one too. A sense of unique identity can already be detected which will surely be improved upon on future releases as this is the most brutal 'new' Thrash record I've heard yet. Hope for Bonded by Blood? Indeed. Hope for the future of Thrash Metal with records like this? Absolutely!
Originally written for Rockfreaks.net