Monday, April 04, 2005

Bloodsimple - A Cruel World CD Review

When examining Bloodsimple’s bio, the first thing you’ll notice is that there is a ton of experience surrounding the band. Vocalist Tim Williams and guitarist Mike Kennedy are both former members of the criminally underappreciated band Vision of Disorder. Guitarist Nick Rowe has more than a decade of jazz schooling under his belt. Bassist Kyle Sanders is a former member of another band that deserved more attention than they ever received—Skrew. Drummer Chris Hamilton has been a member of both Downset and Medication. The band was also the first to be signed to Chad Gray’s, of Mudvayne fame, Warner Brothers imprint, Bullygoat Records. When you combine all of these things on paper, you have one hell of an all-star lineup that should not, in any way, disappoint the listener.

A good majority of the time, though, when all-star groups such as this come together, the output doesn’t seem to match what it should on paper, but occasionally the combination will coalesce into a band which manages to take all of the individual talents of its members and fuse them together to create something even better than you would have imagined. Bloodsimple, on A Cruel World, take all of their experience and craft a cd that is just commercial enough to have a chance of succeeding in the mainstream, while still remaining brutally heavy enough that it will please all of the metal heads out there.

Bloodsimple’s debut doesn’t easily fall into any of the current popular heavy music sub-genres. They aren’t breakdown laden enough to be called metalcore. They definitely don’t have enough thrash or European influences to be thrown into the likes of the current incarnation of the definition of “metal.” They are even close enough to be schlocky enough to fall under the nu-metal banner. They don’t mix in any emo, so classifying them as emocore is out. They do have melodic moments, however, but not really enough to classify them as melodic metal. What they do have, though, is an amazing combination of all of these sub-genres, smattered throughout the course of this release’s run time.

It is probably safe to say that a good chunk of the people that will be interested in this release will be interested because of the involvement of two members of Vision of Disorder in this band. For all of you VOD fans, you will not be disappointed. More than a few times you can easily hear the strong VOD influence (later VOD I should note, just for clarity’s sake), especially on the slower tempo and more melodic offerings, such as “The Leaving Song” and “Sell Me Out”.

Upon initially listening to the disc, you may notice quite a disparity between the mellow and heavy sections of the cd. Oddly, the one downfall this cd has is that it can’t find a middle ground between the barrage of crunching, in your face songs and the slowed down, introspective metal tunes. There are a couple of songs that try to bridge this gap, but they are the weakest songs to be found on the disc. “Sell Me Out” is one such song and even though it’s not a bad song per se, it feels tired and boring in comparison to many of the other songs. “Running from Nothing” doesn’t so much bridge the gap as much as it simply has two distinct sections to the song—slowed down, melodic verses and grinding choruses.

Beyond those couple of missteps, Bloodsimple are quite capable of audibly ripping you apart. “Path to Prevail”, “Blood in, Blood Out”, “Cruel World”, and “Straight Hate” are all unbelievably strong songs, each containing enough bottled up aggression to cause an unsuspecting listener to spontaneously commit random acts of violence if not kept in check. Without resorting to clichéd blast-beat breakdowns or simplistic drop-tuned chord progressions, these songs are some of the heaviest you’ll have heard in ages.

A combination of metal talent such as what can be found within the ranks of Bloodsimple doesn’t come along very often, and even rarer does it work out that they come together to create a cd which is not only listenable, but a showcase for their combined talents. For the time being, this disc should be sitting at the top of every metal fans “to buy” list, assuming you haven’t already ran out to buy it.

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