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Commendably solid - 78%

gasmask_colostomy, May 9th, 2017

Naming your band after one of the most famous albums from thrash metal's original era is certainly not a way to make yourselves stand out in terms of originality, but Bonded by Blood did a pretty good job of proving themselves, at least until things turned rather stagnant after the release of 2012's The Aftermath. I never personally felt that these Californians quite had the individuality to lead the modern thrash movement, though that's not to say that doing the basics right isn't another way of leading by example, certainly since the aim of this band appears to be adhering to the pre-1988 standard of non-experimentation in thrash metal. Bonded by Blood's second full-length looked the part a little more than the cartoony debut (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cover to boot!) and generally stands as their most professional statement thus far.

It's been said many times before that the crux for any resurrectionist band is not only to look the part and sound the part but to back it up with the attitude too. On this score, Exiled to Earth is most of the way there, since artwork returns to well-worn apocalyptic/dystopian themes and the production emphasizes the meaty clatter of the drums alongside ripping crunchy guitars, while there is no "messing about" in the manner of then-labelmates Gama Bomb or Municipal Waste. This last point is probably the key to their acceptance by some of the more conservative thrashers out there, because the all-out musical attack is not watered down by party thrash anthems, which some feel can trivialize the music. I'm not such a sceptic of the fun side of the genre, though it must be said that Bonded by Blood certainly spent some time making this album into a conceptual adventure involving aliens, war, experimentation, and imminent apocalypse without skimping on the musical input. As such, the panic-stricken atmosphere is one reason to return to songs such as 'Genetic Encryption', which can simultaneously whiplash like a motherfucker, present images of mangled alien offspring, and make you question scientific motives in the real world.

That smartness and sense of balance extends to most areas of the album. Not only has effort been invested in the lyrical ideas but the frequent lead guitar playing strikes a very tasty melodic note in contrast to the slightly dry onslaught of rhythm riffing and the vocals of Jose Barrales. The vocals are reminiscent of Warbringer's John Kevill in that Barrales doesn't have a particularly diverse style yet manages to inject a sense of strain and worry into his well-articulated throaty howl that brings credit to the situations he is depicting; however, he's not quite up to par with what neo-thrashers Mutant were creating 10 years back. Mutant are a band that has sadly dropped off the map, though I digress... In any case, there is certainly plenty of Exodus influence here too (as if the band name weren't fairly obvious), not only in the vocals but also the rest of the instruments. The at times rather blunt riffing bears strong similarities to said band's '80s work, while the bass tone is in the same ballpark as latter-day albums such as Shovel Headed Kill Machine, despite the fact that the lead work stands closer to Testament's Alex Skolnick or even James Murphy's gloriously light style.

As such, the style of Exiled to Earth is not really in question, though I can't declare that the quality is something special barring the great solos. Instead, we are left to declare the album a winner on points as the steady accumulation of decent riffs, tempo changes, and vocal vituperation begin to resemble a dominant total. Quite simply, Bonded by Blood don't do anything very badly on any song, so it gradually becomes clear that we are dealing with a commendable effort. There are moments when I can become completely involved, like the mid-album stretch from 'Prison Planet' to the title track, all of which form a series of swift and effective body blows. On the other hand, it's possible to critique the lengthier efforts and the tiny 'Parasitic infection', mainly because the three songs that range over five minutes outstay their welcome and the short number is utterly unexceptional, merely sounding like a verse from another, unfinished song. The sinister clean introduction to 'Desolate Future' marks a different approach, being the only moment of quiet on the album other than the opening moments, which could have been repeated to accentuate the ferocity and tightness of the rest.

As a whole, Exiled to Earth is best summed up as solid. The band let little slide in terms of musicianship or attitude yet do not excel in any area, turning out a batch of merely good songs. While that may sound as if I feel disappointed with Bonded by Blood, readers should bear in mind that thrash is not my favourite sub-genre of metal precisely due to some of the reasons mentioned here - occasionally, the proliferation of similar bands makes the experience formulaic rather than truly exciting. Nevertheless, I'm definitely happy to listen to these guys every once in a while and would suggest that Exiled to Earth is a good place for new fans to start. Probably Bonded by Blood's best album.

Bang your head against the stage... Wait a second - 84%

Andromeda_Unchained, February 25th, 2011

For the record I must say, what a fucking bad idea naming your band after one of the finest thrash metal albums of all time. I'm sure it seemed like a good idea at the time, and they must have been under the influence of some sort of narcotic when naming the band (either that or hideously naïve). Either way bad fucking idea; the Exodus comparisons will never cease for these guys.

And you know what? It's a shame because Bonded by Blood are actually a very good band. Sure their debut was standard retro-thrash fare and admittedly quite Exodus-like in its utilization. However you could tell the energy was there and their hearts were/are quite obviously in it. Fast forward to 2010 and the guys have either grown up ever so slightly or spent their time between Feed the Beast and Exiled to Earth listening to late 80's thrash albums by acts such as Forbidden and Vio-Lence and a healthy dose of some of the more technical European bands.

So, at the turn of the 20th century the Crong had fulfilled their undercover quest for domination... and so on so forth. Exiled to Earth is a concept album set 600 years after the alien race the "Crong" had essentially brought on the apocalypse and a band of rebels decides it's time for the Crong to pay. The story is clichéd beyond belief, but so right for this album. Exiled to Earth full on smokes from the get go, and it's not hard to picture in your head a band of rebels taking on this alien race (much like the admittedly awesome album artwork).

Anyways, Bonded By Blood are on fucking fire here, taking names and kicking ass left right and centre. There has been a particularly nice injection of technicality to the guitar work and it really tears the place apart. Not to mention that the lead guitar work has improved tenfold, I mean seriously, Alex Lee and Juan Juarez spit out furious solos that are fast, technical but most of all memorable, this isn't your average blur of notes. The vocals of Jose "Aladdin" Barrales (sadly departed from the band) were always the make or break for Bonded by Blood, however I really enjoy his Paul Baloff-meets-Sean Killian insanity, and it provides some nice comedic value.

It would be waste to pick out standouts here as the majority of the tracks are of a similar quality, however special mention goes to the awesome "Prototype: Death Machine" which is basically the best song the band have done. 1:38 into the song, if you're not headbanging like a fucking mad man, then check your pulse.

All in all Bonded by Blood have proven themselves a worthy act, and I'm excited to see how they come along in the future. In terms of quality this album takes an Uzi 9mm to the face of just about every retro-thrash metal band doing the rounds today, and can stand proudly as one of the best the current scene has to offer. They definitely have the right idea, and I wouldn't be surprised if they hit us with a truly great album next time around. For now though Exiled to Earth is 42 minutes of headbanging fun. Recommended.

Originally written for

A Prophecy Left Untold! Obscure To The Human Mind! - 95%

maggotsoldier626, February 12th, 2011

Bonded By Blood definitely ups the ante on this one. This will leave you wanting for more. Nobody on the scene can touch this right now. It has everything you could possibly want, need, and dream of. The riffs are perfect (it doesn’t get much better than this, Juan is an amazing player), the solos are terrifyingly good (Alex does a great job), the bass lines are insane (Jerry reminds me of Alex Webster, yea he’s that good), the drums are crazy as fuck (Carlos plays his heart out on this release, he has so much talent), and last but not least the vocals. They are outstanding. Aladdin pretty much sounds like a three way combo between Baloff, Killian, and Zetro. Sad to say he is no longer with the group, but his replacement (Mauro from Mutants of War) does not disappoint live.

“Chaos AB” is a great track to start off with, great performance from the band as a whole. The riffs are great, the drums are outstanding, and the vocals are really good. “Episodes of Aggression” starts of slow much like Chaos AB, but is thrown into full affect much sooner. The drums are the best on this track, the riffs are all there, and so are the lyrics. “Prototype Death Machine” has so much energy in it, and great song live I might add. Great effort from the rhythm section of this one, the solo is insane, and Aladdin handles the vocals very well.

“Prison Planet” immediately starts off with an outstanding riff with another sick solo. The vocals are really good on this track, and a lot of work is done in the rhythm section. “Genetic Encryption” has an amazing riff that, with some great songwriting, and vocal work. Plus an amazing solo, that is also followed by another neck wrecking breakdown. “Blood Spilled Offerings” has an amazing intro that is extremely fast, followed by a slower yet still fast riff that is great to head bang to. Awesome work on drums and the solo is once again great.

The title track “Exiled to Earth” is an amazing track that has an outstanding bass intro. It also has some insane guitar work, with the vocals thrown in to make it one of the best tracks on the album. A great song live nonetheless. “Parasitic Infection” is a short but brutal track that shows much effort in all aspects of the band. Every member does there part to make this song one of the best on the album.

“Desolate Future” starts much like Chaos AB, slow at first and then goes into a full on frenzied madness. This is my favorite track on the album. It has everything, the riffing, the great bass line, an awesome ending solo, great vocal work, and the drums are just perfect. Now “Sector 87” is an outstanding song all around. It starts off with the drums, which are the main component that makes this song amazing. Then the rest of the instruments join in. The main riff and solo are great. This one also has great vocal and rhythm work. The album ends on a high note with “Cross-Insemination”. This song has some great riffing. There is so much variation. An outstanding job is done on bass, and also with the rest of the rhythm section. The drums are also great. All together it is a great way to end an album.

So after listening to this album about 31 times or so, I have nothing but great things to say about it. There is maybe one imperfection on the whole album, and that is that the songs end too abruptly. There is not one weak track on this release. But the tracks I recommend you listen to first are Prototype Death Machine, Genetic Encryption, Exiled to Earth, Desolate Future, and Cross-Insemination.

EXILED TO EARTH by Bonded by Blood (2010) - 79%

MystifyXD, September 19th, 2010

I remembered reading a comment that states that Bonded by Blood plays some fake lousy shitty thrash (or something like that). I think otherwise, now that they’re back with they’re back with their awesome second full-length, “Exiled to Earth”.

I’ve noticed a lot of brilliant (by brilliant, I mean wicked sick) changes that you could hear here. First one’s the vocals, which still is whiny (frankly speaking). Despite that, the vocals have much more edge now since the snarls are quite screamed now, putting more force in it. Second is about the music’s vibe, and yeah, I like it. Remember the cool thrasher vibe you got on “Feed the Beast”? Stop expecting cool and start expecting a more dissonant vibe made possible by the crunchy riffs they’ve put here. Although majority of the riffs here are certainly not groundbreaking, many of them are quite memorable, especially after, say, 3-5 listens. And the album has some mid-paced moments too, despite the speed it has. The chorus of “Genetic Encryption” and the majority of “Prototype Death Machine” are examples. If there’s one thing here that I really like are the guitar solos, all of which are filled with pure, tragic evil. My only real complaint I got here is the way they end the songs here. It’s just a little too abrupt and sudden, that’s all. I think that they should put some more riffs before ending the song at the very least.

Verdict: This album just spells T-H-R-A-S-H, the awesome way. If you like new thrash bands like Toxic Holocaust or Evile, well you better give this band a chance (yes, give them another chance if ever you didn’t like “Feed the Beast”). This album might just make your metal worthwhile.

Highlights: 600 A.D., Prototype Death Machine (well, the series of solos rocks), Prison Planet, Exiled to Earth (awesome dissonance factor despite the vocal’s extra whine factor).

Originally made for

Bonded by Blood - Exiled to Earth - 70%

ThrashManiacAYD, August 20th, 2010

Of this continually-prevailing neo-thrash scene Californians Bonded By Blood have managed to push themselves near the top of the pile, sharing centre stage with the Toxic Holocaust's, Evile's and Gama Bomb's of this world in proving that those who wrote off (myself included) the scene almost as soon as it exploded are going to be wrong, very wrong indeed. Following on from 2008's rather good "Feed the Beast" record, BBB have toned down on the comic humour (a little) across "Exiled To Earth" to make an album as aggressive a thrash record I've heard in recent years and one positively dripping with years spent listening to the 80's classics we all adore.

The band's monicker may bely a minor Exodus penchant but in "Prototype: Death Machine" and "600 A.B. (After the Bomb)" BBB thrash away high on Destruction in both riff and vocal snarl. Slip in some of the chaos of Dark Angel recordings (and a fucking annoying anti-piracy beep, cheers Earache) and BBB sound as energetic on record as I can confirm they are live. Though offering precious little answer to my main gripes of limited originality and variation within song structures of all bands in the neo-thrash scene BBB's performance of said style is undoubted in it's passion, offering us dear listener a nice array of lead work courtesy of the talented hands of Alex Lee and Jose 'Aladdin' Barrales so-thrash-it-hurts vocal style. Just be careful Barrales, Schmier will be wanting his vocal chords back for the recording of the next Destruction LP…

As if it need be declared "Exiled To Earth" offers no substantial variation on the well-trodden thrash template across it's 11 songs, which by the end begins to resemble a bunch of dudes filling in a 'Thrash By Numbers' workbook, but such is the nature of BBB's art one can't hate on them for it. Maybe the fabled 'difficult no. 3' album will tell us what the future of these upstarts has in store, but in the mean time expect some serious levels of touring and a few cases of whiplash to be diagnosed as "Exiled To Earth" spread it's diabolical ways across an expectant audience hungry for but one thing - thrash fuckin' metal.

Originally written for

Keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle please - 80%

autothrall, August 12th, 2010

California's Bonded by Blood may have gotten off on the wrong foot with many listeners, as they not only took their name from one of the most famous of the Bay Area thrash metal bands, but also derived their style pretty much directly from that source. However, they weren't really 'bad' at this, it was just another example of a young band idolizing the 80s and attempting to manifest them once more in the present decade. Along with Gama Bomb, this band is essentially Earache Records fraction of the thrash revival initiative, and due to that relationship, they are likely to achieve more visibility than the average, patch collecting (in retrospect) gaggles of beer swilling cheese hounds just killing time until the next trend sweeps them up.

The catch is, having listened through Exiled to Earth about six times now, I can honestly say that the band truly deserves some attention, because here they've pulled together an intensely riffy, fun thrash metal record that applies the conventions of their forebears and focuses in on all manner of fun lyrics about diseases, dystopia, science fiction and the bleak future that might await us all in this world, or at least some parallel possible plane. The band still uses a vocal style that sounds like a Baloff/Zetro half-breed, but he takes it to a new level of inflection here, often pitching his voice higher like Vio-lence's Sean Killian, but within the context of the dirtier, torn throat manipulation. Actually, the music itself on this record sounds quite a lot like a mix of Exodus and Vio-Lence, with at least one song sounding exactly like it belongs to the latter.

To call the 42 minutes of this sophomore full-length 'explosive' would be an understatement, because these guys basically channel an energy surge and then ride it through the entire array of conceptual content. Tracks like "Episodes of Aggression", "Blood Spilled Offerings", and the spastic and brief "Parasitic Infection" arrive like a storm, riffs chopping and hacking like a mad half-doctor half-butcher loose in a maternity ward. This band knows how to conjure a nigh on endless sequence of riffs, that while individually do not have much merit, work so bloody well together that you just won't stop having fun listening to them. The breakdown in "Exiled to Earth" sounds almost exactly like "World in a World" from Vio-Lence's Oppressing the Masses, but otherwise that is also quite a good song, as are "Genetic Encryption" and the raging closer with a few nods to Testament (with more hyper riffing and non-Billy vox) "Cross-Insemination". Yes, these guys are really into exploring the idea of breeding, DNA tampering and population control.

Exiled to Earth is just one of those albums fully made aware of its limitations, thus forcing them directly down your throat at high speeds. This album is easily going to be the champion of many a live thrasher, it simply lends itself to that level of energy, but its complex enough for the guitar fan who wants to follow each riff out to its machine gun clip. The production is not overwrought, and ultimately Bonded By Blood puts their idols Exodus to shame, at least as far as that better known act's more recent work. This isn't quite perfect, and in a few years I may look at it as nothing more than a polished piece of derived Bay Area, just upping the ante a fraction for the more jaded, attention starved listener, but I certainly preferred it to a lot of the other bands playing in this style (Gama Bomb, Evile, Warbringer, Lich King and so forth). You'll feel like you have just been thrashed, and unlike so many other shallower offerings out there, you'll want to dive in repeatedly.