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Have You Ever Fed the Beast? - 77%

Twisted_Psychology, July 15th, 2009

As made blatantly obvious by their choice of band name, Bonded by Blood is another group involved in the New Wave of American Thrash Wave movement that managed to get signed on an influential label and release a full-length debut. Fortunately they make themselves stand out by means of a few hardcore punk influences and a more noticeable sense of fun that is lacking in some of their peers.

Unsurprisingly, the music on here seems to take its biggest cues from bands such as Exodus, Overkill, and Slayer. The guitar riffs rarely go beyond a fast pace, the solos pack in plenty of squeals that will bring to mind classic Slayer, and the drums always do a pretty good job of keeping up. There are also a few mid-tempo moments that emphasize a mosh-worthy groove or a darker atmosphere, but they rarely take over an entire song. Hell, "The Evil Within" may be the slowest song on the album and it manages to stay pretty upbeat...

One thing that really manages to set the band apart from their peers is the voice of Jose "Alladin" Barrales. I suppose you could describe him as some kind of cross between Paul Baloff and Zetro Sousa, but there's a tone in his voice that's somewhat hard to describe but really gives him his own identity. His performance is often energetic without being overtly aggressive and he does sound somewhat goofy at times. Memorable moments include the somewhat pompous verses of "Psychotic Pulse" and the endless spray of lyrics on "Mind Pollution."

Aside from a struggling personal identity, the band's main flaw seems to be imitating their idols a little closely. The slower moments on songs such as "The Evil Within" do come a little close to sounding like something from "South of Heaven" and "Mind Pollution" features a main riff that sounds eerily similar to the chorus riff of GWAR's "Gor-Gor." I'm guessing it's not plaigarism so much as the consequences of a somewhat limited genre...

Being the child of the last 80's/early 90's that I am, I must also say that I found the cover of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme song to be rather amusing. It kinda makes me wonder if there are any bands out there that tried covering the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers theme...

Overall, this album is definitely worth checking out for thrash die-hards even if it doesn't reach match up with some of their more successful peers. Unfortunately, everyone else might not be missing too much...

Pros:
1) The music itself is energetic and fun
2) The production is pretty clear and modern

Cons:
1) Slightly unoriginal songwriting approach and cues from other bands
2) The vocals are an acquired taste

My Current Favorites:
"Immortal Life," "Psychotic Pulse," "Mind Pollution," "Another Disease," and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Theme Song"