If when you hear the word "Maryland" used in conjunction with other words like doom, metal and heavy and you do not start salivating then you probably have arrived at this review by accident and should probably leave right away. If, however, you are a devotee of all things dank, dark and thunderous and are of the understanding that, although metal and doom may have arguably come to prominence in the industrial heartlands of the UK's West Midlands, it is Maryland that is now considered by many to be the music's capital, then this review may well be of interest to you.Bloodshot; ex War Injun member JB Matson (drums), former Earthride contributor Joe Ruthvin (bass), Tom Stacey (guitar) and Jared Winegardner (vocals) are based in Fredricks, Maryland and although the band possess many of the doomic traits of their fellow Maryland contemporaries they are also a band not averse to throwing into their musical compositions touches of punkish aggression and thrash-like speed as well as a little NOLA flavoured hardcore/groove metal mayhem, as you will no doubt find out for yourselves when checking out their debut "Sins of the Father" (Half Beast Records)
Matson introduces first track "Faded Natives" with three singular beats of his bass drum with a fourth beat signalling Stacey to enter with a galloping palm muted refrain ripped straight out of the thrash guitar for dummies handbook, Matson and Stacey are then joined by Ruthvin in a groove somewhat reminiscent of the bassist's tenure with the mighty Earthride, only maybe a touch more strident. Over this tsunami of thunderous gnarliness Winegardner delivers a vocal possessing all the requisite factors music of this ilk demands, guttural growls, bear-like roars and clean but gritty croons, yet through all these differing vocal dynamics still managing to maintain a surprising level of clarity. "Visions Of Yesterday" is next and finds Bloodshot flexing their punk rock muscles with short sharp stab of raucousness that finds Winegardner delivering his vocals a little cleaner than on the albums previous track and Matson laying down some incredibly busy and on point drumming. "Zero Humility" follows and here we find Bloodshot edging towards a more crossover sound, still as heavy as a truck load of rhinos but with touch more swing and swagger in both its vocal dynamics and musical attack. It's back to metallic bombast and bluster for next song "Uncivil War" a rant against global conflict, its opening line "millions of people, thousands of kids, countless murders, millions are spent” summing up in just a few words what some anti-war protesters have tried to get across in a thousand. "Beaten Into Rebellion" finds Motsan and Ruthvin laying down a stuttering stop-start groove over which Stacey layers crunching power chords and searing lead while Winegardner waxes lyrical of being forced into reactional behaviour by circumstances out of his control. "Worn & Thorn" is another slice of punkish raucousness played at thrash-like speed while "Inside The Outside" has an alt-rock/grunge feel courtesy of Stacey's slurring guitar refrains. Bloodshot dive even further down the grunge rabbit hole for next track "Sucking Chest Wound", with Matson and Ruthvin laying down a sedately paced groove over which Winegardner delivers a world weary toned vocal and which Stacey decorates with distortion drenched riffs and blues tinted solo's, the song only increasing in tempo as it nears its finale. Penultimate track "Fyre" has somewhat of a groove metal/hardcore feel underscored with touches of doom, a feel reflected in Winegardner's grittier, harsher vocal tones and the thrumming musical backdrops Stacey, Matson and Ruthvin frame those tones with. Title track "Sins Of The Father" closes proceedings and is for us, at Desert Psychlist,,the highlight of the album, it is a song that draws all the threads of Bloodshot's various influences and past associations together, aspects of Matson and Ruthvin's previous musical dalliances finding their way into the songs sonic makeup as well as those of Down, Crowbar and Corrosion of Conformity while vocally Winegardner channels a powerful gruff tone that sits somewhere between the gravelled coarseness of the sadly missed Dave "Sherm" Sherman and the bull like roar of Phil Anselmo, Stacey adding his two penneth worth to the mix with caustic chord tones and squealing harmonics.
Spirit Caravan, The Obsessed, Earthride. Hidden Hand, Iron Man, Internal Void. the list of iconic doom and metal bands birthed in Maryland just seems to go on and on and on but just like an IKEA extendable table there is always room for one more and Bloodshot have proven with "Sins Of The Father" they are a band worthy of sitting down with the best of 'em.
Check 'em out ....
© 2022 Frazer Jones