[Bloodloss at Hobgoblin Staines 11SEP 2008]
Bloodloss are in appearance, general style and musical ability, much like ‘Lamb of God.’ But, as with most successful basic metals bands from The New Wave of American Heavy Metal, you will find that there is a lot more going on ‘in there’ than you might at first think. There is a glimmer of melody and arrangement in the music of these bands – and these elements along with a generous slice of virtuosity can also be found in the music of Bloodloss … so compare this band to ‘Machine Head’ or ‘Chimaira’.
Barry O’Connor is the muscle-bound rhapsoidein wearing a British Bull Dog T-shirt and strutting and posturing across the stage with that British vim and vitality that we are so accustomed to. He takes the extreme de rigueur / Thrash Metal vocals (i.e. shouting hard) to the next level, but he can also occasionally mystify and delight the audience with some truly mournful and tuneful notes. Barry also drums with AfterDeath ( an up-and-coming London-based metal band) and it is very clear that his vocals are kept in perfect trim by his ‘insider’ knowledge of the rhythm. Bloodloss employs (almost) a twin-lead guitar-sound with Rob Ironmonger on number 1 lute and Mark Browell on No 2 (who also helps with supporting vocals) and these two churn out the kind of grinding chord progressions you so urgently and desperately need. Sometimes these chords are as unusual, complex and demanding as a high-class Tokyo call-girl who has found herself with her wrist-watch caught in the Vicar’s flies, but those ripping lead breaks lead you (and her) , ever onwards, to a place of wonder and, ultimately, sinful climax. The (temporary) bass chitarrone thumped those low-lines following the rhythm guitar riffs but also employed some deft intermezzi techniques and some nifty progressions. The thrashing drummer Daniel Kelly, on the bongos, is just a blur of hair, stamina and testosterone. Blast-beats came naturally to him, as do some magical ‘rim of the snare’ techniques and plenty of hyper blasts when the occasions demand them.
The low syncopated power chords and the powerful metalcore vocals (think ‘Killswitch Engage’) provide the power and petulant pomp to this team of screamsters. Their songs, like ‘Inside My Mind’ and ‘Taken Down’ speak of life, light, darkness and focussed, strain. “It is a struggle to be in a band” shouts out Barry, to the bassist from the support act (Demure), “Isn’t it brother?”. Clap, clap, clap. We all agree … as if we knew. The band do not underestimate the simpler facts-of-life though, ( the songs are often interrupted by reflective and gentler moments when simple chords are crafted,) or the more euphoric moments we live, when the vocals, fuzzy guitars and rhythmic blasts reach a ‘state of grace’.
There are several nods towards modern advocates of complex progressive metal (like ‘Opeth’), not just in the style, with occasional guitar interludes, but also with some uncommon time signatures and dynamic shifts… and polyrhythms abound. Grunts and shouts are more in order than the screams of some bands and are actually more tuneful and pleasing (think ‘Slipknot’) than some nu-metal bands. These styles elevate the ambience and the pomposity of Bloodloss to new highs. Yes , mood and rhythm and texture is more important than melody to the bands of this genre but in the music of Bloodloss pleasing musical arrangements can also be found. At the barnstorming end of the evening there was a timely and welcome breakdown– conducive to a bit of moshing/body-slamming- and so Bal attempted to create a wall of death inside the limited space of the Staines Hob with the – erm- nine or ten members of the ‘crowd’. And so moshing commenced.
All-in-all Bloodloss live was a strong, mesmerising and absolutely exhilarating experience and I thoroughly recommend this London/Guildford act to any metal fan.
To sum up and to quote Bal on the night, “If You call yourselves ‘Metal Heads’ then this is the time, this is the place, and this is the band”
BLOODLOSS are playing STAINES HOB this week: 07 May 2009