Monday, 9 February 2015

Bloodscribe - Prologue to the Apocalypse (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 10/02/2015
Label: Gore House Productions

‘Prologue to the Apocalypse’ CD//DD track listing:

1. Prologue to the Apocalypse
2. Pantheon of Lies
3. Enslaved by Deceptions
4. Burning Bridges
5. Demons
6. Annihilation
7. Kingdoms Fall
8. Castrating Humanity
9. Shadows
10. In Ruins

Bloodscribe is:

Jasan | Vocals
Joe | Guitar
Mike | Guitar
Jesse | Drums
Dennis | Bass


Bloodscribe comes to us from Boyle Heights, CA, a place I know fairly well. In the late 90s and early 2000s I was in bands that were a part of dozens of house shows and small club shows out there and in nearby parts of Los Angeles: Lincoln Park, South Central, Watts. I only bring this up because Bloodscribe and their first full length album, ‘Prologue to the Apocalypse’ sounds like a number of the bands we played with. There’s something in the water in Los Angeles that breeds this specific kind of rhythm-centric death metal. In a certain way, it made me feel a bit nostalgic, but it also leads to a huge issue for Bloodscribe and this album in particular: there are hundreds, if not thousands of bands in the world doing this and doing it just as well.

It’s not that Bloodscribe doesn’t have things going for it. Drummer Jesse Lopez is, for the most part, very strong behind the kit, and may even be the band’s strongest asset; as long as he stays away from those American-style blast beats. As players the rest of the band are all fine-to-good, so there isn’t really an issue from a technical performance standpoint. Recording-wise the sound isn’t bad, but there are a couple of minor issues. The bass is too loud in the mix, with a tone that lacks definition. Aside from that, it’s a perfectly serviceable death metal recording.

The biggest problem with ‘Prologue to the Apocalypse’ is song writing. It’s all pretty by the numbers and in some cases it feels like a real afterthought, almost like the band loved the idea of being in a death metal band, found some old Internal Bleeding, Suffocation, and Dying Fetus albums and said “lets just do this!”. If their goal is to just have fun playing death metal the way to was played in the 90s and 00s, they’ve already succeeded. If they have any aspirations of making a real name for themselves, they have a lot of work to do as far as coming up with interesting ideas. It’s not enough to just be heavy and fast anymore. The bloom was off that rose by 1996. You have to come up with something different or at least memorable.

Another reason I brought up being in those bands playing all of the same areas that Bloodscribe likely plays today is because I know exactly where they’re at and where they’re coming from. I’ve been in bands that were virtually guaranteed to not go anywhere past a certain level. When I was a kid, I was devastated when Terrorizer wrote that my band at the time was a “mediocre attempt at spiky scandinavian black metal” in a live review. Fifteen years later, I’m doing the same thing to a band from a part of Los Angeles that isn’t even 20 minutes from where I grew up, even with Los Angeles’ abysmal traffic problems. I’m going to finish this review in a more personal way than usual because in some ways this really hits home. I’ve been in their exact place, only it was a long time ago, so I’m going to speak directly to the band, because I wish I’d had friends that would have said this to me when I was still young enough to have changed things:

Whatever limitations you’re placing on yourself when writing songs; get rid of them. You won’t get much further creatively than where you are right now if all you’re doing is what others have done in the past. If what you’ve got now is all you really want for your band, then don’t worry about what I’m saying to you and do what you want to do. You’ve got a pretty strong base audience already, and you’ve got a solid foundation as musicians. But, if you’re hoping to create something special down the road, you’ve got to take some chances with your songs and find some new blood as far as influences go. Add new flavors. Listen to albums you’ve never heard before in styles you aren’t even sure you’re going to like. Give yourselves more to work with as a band. Otherwise, it might be one of you reviewing an album like this one, giving other musicians the advice you never took.

Words by: Daniel Jackson

You can pick up a digital copy here and a CD/LP copy here.

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