Album: Pressure – EP
How well do you function under pressure? Granted—it’s more important for some than others—but it’s a crucial question. When the chips are down and it’s you and your instincts, no time to think, ponder or calculate…do you pull through? Or do you crumble? Because after all, it’s only with unimaginable pressure that ordinary Carbon becomes a diamond; either that, or it falls to pieces and loses all semblance of worth. Enter Bloodbather, a raw, unfiltered metalcore band with a penchant for punishing, powerhouse heaviness. If the listener is looking for something poignant, beefy, blistering and weighty enough to level mountains in under fifteen minutes, then the group’s sophomore release is precisely what they need.
So, with the manic intensity and aggravated energy Bloodbather bring to the table with their second EP, Pressure, the question persists: will you prove your worth, or will the pressure get the best of you?
Nine out of ten times, I have nothing but scathing criticism for bands continuing to jock the late-2000s sense of brash heaviness and panic-chord laden riffs.
Bloodbather just happen to be the tenth band.
Pressure is an odd release in the sense where it feels like it would have fit brilliantly in 2008 alongside acts like Evergreen Terrace and the sort. On the other hand, 2017-into-2018 seems just as welcome a home, including catchy vocal hooks alongside both bouncy and slamming elements that align them excellently with Born a New or Boundaries. Percussionist Sam Jiminez is, in part, to thank for the quick and catchy candor throughout much of Pressure. Songs like “End” see him oscillating between straight-up aggression and bouncy, almost-up-beat sections where he works with bassist Maddie Champagne to keep the listener’s head and feet moving without missing a beat. The EP’s title track is another excellent example of this, where Jiminez’s drumming is hammering the listener in the skull one moment, but the next, working with Champagne to transition into another jarring, angular and gritty riff from guitarist and songwriter Matt Stokes. Stokes’ eye-opening panic chords and gut-busting chugs work at opposite ends of the sonic spectrum—especially in “Final Request”—to keep the listener’s limbs flailing and temper peaked. That’s the entire message melded into Bloodbather’s instrumentation: murderous rage and malevolent malcontent. Stokes works with Jiminez and Champagne both to make that anger abundant, whether it’s during the fun, fast-footed two steps of “Suicide Note,” or the closed-hi-hat, clenched-fist mosh that follows.
Just as Bloodbather’s music is strung out and violent, the manic and frantic vocals from frontman Jeffrey Georges are the same. Harshly spat syllables rain down on the listener like a pissed-off tsunami of terrifying hostility throughout most of Pressure’s seven tracks. With “Pressure” and it’s bouncy climactic breakdown seeing Georges at his most catchy and crafty, “End” or “Final Request” are just…well, pissed, and when it comes to the beefy, bold musicianship that serves as his soundscape, one could want nor expect anything else from Georges. The only veritable “break” the listener gets from the anxious and angry Georges is in “Sacrifice,” the short-but-totally-unnecessary interlude—because While a short reprieve from the angst-dotted misanthropy from Georges and the Broward County Brutalizers In Bloodbather is nice, a stand-alone track and practically a minute out of an already short release seems superfluous. All the same, the point remains—Georges uses almost all of the album’s fifteen minute duration to totally devastate the listener.
Pressure is a lot of things: pissed, punishing, powerful and maybe a little on the brief side—but it’s fifteen minutes of the purest energy seen from metalcore in years. Bloodbather combine traditional hardcore and metallic elements with modern production and just a hint of contemporary crush to make a release that has one foot firmly planted in the genre’s storied past and the other planted firmly up the listener’s ass. Crude, cruel, catchy and crushing all in one whirlwind of a release, Pressure brought out the best in Bloodbather, giving the heavy music community seven tracks of insight into their true potential.
For Fans Of: 18 Visions, Evergreen Terrace, Boundaries, Born a New
By: Connor Welsh