Thursday, September 14, 2006

First Blood - Killafornia CD Review

Terror are a powerhouse in the hardcore genre, and rightfully so, but coming along with the status of being a powerhouse is the knowledge that your band’s name is going to be attached to anything and everything even remotely related in an attempt to get exposure. This happens to be the case with First Blood, the new home of Terror’s former bassist Carl Schwartz (who also happened to be in Sworn Vengeance back in the day as well). Unlike most Victory and Trustkill stickers, the comparison to Terror is actually a very justified one, as there is more than a passing resemblance between the two bands.

Coming off as a much more metalcore oriented hardcore band than a traditional hardcore band, First Blood doesn’t lose one ounce of the hardcore attitude, gang vocals, or breakdowns that may come from the metalcore influence. Being much more concerned with rock solid riffs (see the amazing “Conspiracy”) and a visceral vocal attack than hitting the standard hardcore staple of build-up, breakdown, build-up, breakdown, First Blood actually swims up to the upper echelon of the hardcore world. True, it might be hard to pick out the cream of the crop at times because of the striking similarities between most of the bands in the hardcore genre, so it is possible I may be off in my assessment, but there is no denying that there is aggression to spare throughout Killafornia.

What makes this CD really interesting is the fact that, on disc, this is almost an entirely one man show as Carl played all of the guitars and bass on the disc, as well as doing the vocals. This guy knows how to write a hardcore song from just about every angle and it shows on this effort. Again, this comes with the caveat that hardcore isn’t exactly the most revolutionary genre and writing a hardcore song is not exactly the same as writing the next Explosions in the Sky epic.

For hardcore enthusiasts, you owe it to yourself to pick up this CD if for no other reason than to hear the one minute and fifteen second long instrumental breakdown-a-thon “Armageddon”. Seriously, this track should be the blueprint for every tough-guy hardcore song to come out in the next decade. Just add vocals to the top of the mix and you’re totally set. The other songs on here are good too, but “Armageddon” is ridiculous in its goodness. Now get your girl pants on and start spin kicking!

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