Album: III – EP
Three is perhaps the strongest number there is. Whether it’s the holy trinity, the sturdy, resolute imagery and meaning within triangles, and let’s not forget about threesomes. After all, three’s company—less is dull and more’s a crowd. Nature has given the number three a special meaning and persevering strength within our culture, as examples of its importance are everywhere—and most recently, he debut EP from Texan titans Bloodline. Their debut EP, III is a fierce testament to terrifying heaviness and tremendous musicianship, combining visceral grooves with organ-melting brutality and bone-smashing aggression. Bloodline are a bold and brave quintet that waste no time in drawing first blood, and using it to separate themselves from the nameless, faceless herd that is modern metalcore.
III is a monstrous metalcore release that combines touches of riff-heavy thrash metal with chug-laden deathcore and pinches of progressive, djent-tinted groove. Bloodline kick off their release with the enthralling, energetic fretwork of guitarists Brayden Williams and Tristan Edwards, who light a fire in the listener’s head with the catchy, neck-snapping introduction to “Three Years Lost.” Williams and Edwards are the face of Bloodline’s instrumental dynamic, crafting insidious, invasive grooves like those on “Three Years Lost” and “Jaded,” but also providing no-holds-barred aggression on “Self-Inflicted” and the aptly named “Loathe.” However, akin to an onion, the most potent aspects of III and its musicianship lies beneath the first layer, and is comprised of bassist Brody Pempsell and percussionist Matt Dierkes. Dierkes is a dynamo behind the kit, ballistically hammering away like the Energizer bunny on meth, serving as Bloodline’s ferociously beating heart, pumping life in the form of fill-laden patterns and fleet footwork into each track. “Dead Space,” as well as “Three Years Lost” highlight not only Dierkes’ prowess, but the punchy fretwork from bassist Pempsell, and his proclivity to paint every pattern Dierkes lets loose with a thick layer of grime. Together, Pempsell and Dierkes allow the more fluid portions of III to flow unobstructed, but also give the heavier portions extra oomph.
Between shred, sinister chugs and grotesque grooves, III cuts deeply and without remorse. Atop Bloodline’s intense instrumentation and diverse songwriting ability, however, there exists the vocal expertise of frontman Joe Thornburg. If Bloodline’s debut release is a razor-sharp blade, then Thornburg’s energetic, evil vocal delivery and dominating stamina are a concoction of lethal toxins coating it. From the opening primal roars of “Three Years Lost,” Thornburg’s skill is clearly defined. He roams hither and to with grisly, eviscerating low growls and skin-splitting shrieks, often relying on a meaty, mid-range yell to link the two together. Where Thornburg is tonally immense, his candor and catchy patterning (coupled with his aforementioned stamina) are equally ear-catching. His work throughout “Three Years Lost” and the catchy climactic vocal push in “Dead Space” are but two examples of his prodigal talent.
Bloodline’s III is a sharp, intelligent blend of aggression, atmosphere and catchiness that leaves most bands behind them, choking on their dust. While some moments of “Jaded” or “Death’s Door” might sound relatively similar to some other contemporary metalcore acts, a great majority of III is wholesome and original through and through. Take for example “Self-Inflicted” or “Three Years Lost” (which is among the EP’s stronger tracks, if you haven’t caught on yet). These tracks are expert examples of the quintet carefully blending relentless aggression and uncanny brutality in a catchy, creative vector. Many moments of Bloodline’s EP have the catchy candor of a soft-spoken post-hardcore release, but are truthfully hard hitting, infernally heavy metalcore anthems—hotter than the Texan sun and heavier than all the two-ton pickup trucks the mega-state has to offer—after all, everything is bigger there, including Bloodline’s bodacious breakdowns.
Bloodline cut deep, and they cut fast, making an impact with their EP that most bands can only effect over the course of several releases. III is an unholy, unnatural behemoth of bold and intelligent brutality—leaving nothing but ashes and blood in its wake.
For Fans Of: Beacons, I AM, Slipknot, Bury Your Dead, The Acacia Strain, Gideon
By: Connor Welsh