Thrash Hits

August 18th, 2010

Album: Bonded By Blood – Exiled To Earth

Bonded By Blood
Exiled To Earth
Earache Records
16 August 2010

by Tom Dare

While the latest crop of thrash revivalists have released some fine records, with the Big Four tour and the old greats like Exodus, Testament and Overkill back in fine fettle, there’s noticeable problem from examining the records from the new bands. While there are some fine albums, but no one has written a The New Order, a Forbidden Evil or most appropriately a Bonded By Blood. The new generation is still marathon distances behind the bands responsible for those records, and bands like Bonded By Blood still need to convince us this latest movement hasn’t run out of steam.

In case you’re unfamiliar with them or haven’t guessed from the name, Bonded By Blood like Exodus. Really quite a lot, in fact. That said, any accusations of merely being a tribute act to the Bay Area pioneers is wide of the mark. While the riffs and vocals sound like they just stepped off a time machine arriving from San Francisco in 1985, there is a slightly different feel. The youthful aggression that came across as a manic urge for destruction on that Exodus record (and most of the others, in fact) does not mark BBB’s work- they have a more fun aspect that is their own. It is one of the major reasons Exiled To Earth avoids descending into a nauseating feast of dull nostalgia.

The individuality is cemented by the lead guitar work. While Gary Holt, Alex Skolnick and the other shredders of San Francisco’s golden era are clear inspirations, the licks are far more distinctive and original than the other components of the music. Oh, and they also happen to be seriously fucking good- always evil and furious without becoming obsessed with just playing fast, these moments make you realise that BBB can play. On repeated listens, you also begin to notice the slightly more intricate and technical riffs than is usual for a thrash band. The rolling hostility of ‘Prototype: Death Machine’ sounds more modern and fresh than the majority of their peers- it’s delightfully confrontational and shows some top-notch musicianship, and there are similar such examples throughout Exiled…. And it is all these good points that tell you the band need to move beyond old-school thrash.

There’s still life in thrash itself, but it is crying out for some new ideas, whether it be the technical interpretation of Sylosis or the melodic metalcore adaptation Trivium mastered on Ascendancy. But simply trying to remake the original great albums has the feel of holding BBB back badly.

Don’t know where Bonded By Blood get their name? Watch this:

Exiled… hints at a band capable of doing something distinctive and original with the old style, and that they would be better for it. Instead, it’s a good thrash record that fans of the old stuff will enjoy and everyone else will ignore. It’s a good album, but you’re unlikely to still be playing it in six months time over the greats. Bonded By Blood is a great record that happens to be thrash, Exiled To Earth is merely a good thrash record. The band sound capable of far more than this.

4/6

Sounds like: Exodus, Duh!
Top tracks: Prototype: Death Machine, Prison Planet, Desolate Future

Bonded By Blood – Exiled To Earth tracklisting:
600 A.B. (After The Bomb)
Episodes Of Aggression
Prototype: Death Machine
Prison Planet
Genetic Encryption
Blood Spilled Offerings
Exiled To Earth
Parasitic Infection
Desolate Future
Sector 87
Cross-Insemination

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