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Blade Killer - High Risk Award winner

Blade Killer
High Risk
by Kevin Burke at 09 December 2018, 4:24 PM

California based BLADE KILLER paint us with a new coat of denim-clad nostalgia on their debut release “High Risk”. This is an old school riff-fest pulled in a time machine from the nineteen-eighties, quality metal reincarnated in Los Angeles, soaring vocals, thumping bass, pumping dual guitars  and a menacing backbeat all combine to give the world a taste of where heavy metal as a genre is headed by building on its original foundations.

The albums eight-tracks, for a debut, are free flowing good time tunes, no falling into the depths of musical despair through gothic design, instead it is what it should be, fun, and, BLADE KILLER know exactly how to do that.  Following in the gigantic footsteps of ground-breaking Golden State acts such as CRUE, G’N’R, METALLICA, JANE’S ADDICTION and onwards which were grown out of the NWOBHM from the UK and molded into their own sound, BLADE KILLER are just taken that root and given it a 21st-century makeover.

This is a long awaited release which aim is direct and intense without disappointment, “High Risk” does not so much start but rather explodes with “Lost Angels” an ode to their surroundings, an immediate attack of guitars and the scream of Carlos Gutierrez makes this an epic welcome mat to those with who love to head-bang. “Let Go-Let Go” is straight out of the IRON MAIDEN workbook, with a pulsing bass which anchors the track with that new-wave feel, in fact throughout the album Kelsey Wilson’s playing is very strong and prevalent in the mix.

The energy of BLADE KILLER is relentless, never slowing down for that radio-commercial love song, four-tracks in, and they are still pumping their very direct style, “In The Arms Of The Devil” is a rollicking leather clad delight, synthesizers and those ambient sweet noises are binned, never entering the equation. Even the production at times appears scaled back which gives the album that nostalgic quality, letting the raw sound of the band breathe as if a live album.

“Rush Of Thunder” is that Sunset Strip sound, it as if the listener is entering the Whiskey A Go Go on a Saturday night, the drums of Peter Lemieux is solid and to the point, “Endangered Dreams” sees the sound back to the UK again, those guitars working in unison justify the entrance fee alone. As I said this is an album and band heavily influenced by NWOBHM, they have just relocated the sound to a sunnier climate and given a boost of sleaze into the mix just for authentication, it is a sound the listener will instantly recognize and relate to, BLADE KILLER is a band keeping the air guitars of a generation in tune making sure the landscape of Heavy Metal will never become desolate.

Songwriting; 9
Originality: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Lost Angels
2. Let Go
3. High Risk
4. In The Arms Of The Devil
5. Midnight Sinner
6. Rush Of Thunder
7. Endangered Dreams
8. Tomb Of Thoughts
Carlos Gutierrez – Vocals
Kelsey Wilson – Bass
Jonathan Rubio – Guitar
Jay Vazquez – Guitar
Peter Lemieux – Drums
Record Label: M-Theory Audio


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Edited 27 January 2023

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