Thick As Blood

What more did you expect? There are three words above that are intrinsic to hardcore terminology, “thick,” for thick riffs, beats, vocals and lyrics. Blood, well, you don’t have to be blood to be family and all that rhetoric that’s been rife pretty much since the beginning and embrace? You embrace the music, the scene the ideology all cornerstones to the outlook and perspective of hardcore.

So what do you get here? For less then 30 minutes a sonic pounding that is slickly produced and deftly delivered.

However, despite the professional delivery of each track on Embrace and the impressive weight bought forth by the meaty production, there’s a spark missing that’s not immediately easy to pinpoint. The first detraction, at least from a personal perspective is the reduction of vocalists. I love bands that have more than one vocalist (take Path of Resistance, TRC, Nueva Etica, Red Sky, Apathemy, Despised Icon, Out for the Count could go on forever) it adds more texture to the music and especially in hardcore it adds a further dimension live together with on record.

Another factor is the injection of metal. No bad thing at all, but it’s diluted the rawness and energy that pervaded predecessor Moment of Truth. Certainly the band sound slick and crushingly heavy, wielding a Pantera like swagger and groove to their compositions but losing that feverish energy and replacing it with this clinical almost mechanical feel detracts more then it compliments.

The final factor is that the bar has been significantly raised in heavy hardcore, there are no so many bands of high quality in circulation worldwide that you have to really push your boundaries in order to compete. Given that Moment of Truth was such a strong debut, I expected Thick as Blood to make that push to show that they could go toe to toe with other heavyweights worldwide.

In the end though Embrace is far from a disaster, it’s a solid, stoic album full of good moments that will get devotees punching the walls until they crumble and singing along till their lungs bleed but it could have been so much, much more.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Benjamin DeBlasi
July 10th, 2009


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