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Bonded By Blood - The Aftermath

Bonded By Blood
The Aftermath
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 05 July 2012, 7:50 PM

Right on time, as if an alarm clock was hidden knee deep in their asses, and here goes another BONDED BY BLOOD album straight from the veils of Earache Records. Through the last couple of years since the conceptual “Exiled To Earth”, the band crossed paths with the negative side of twists and turns. The L.A. crew of Chicanos lost one of their guitarists, Alex Lee, and on the way replaced their lead vocalist, Jose Barrales, for Mauro Gonzales (MUTANTS OF WAR) and their bass player, Jerry Garcia, for Jessie Sanchez (ex-HOLY GRAIL). This situation left the band with only two of the founding members, but their new album, “The Aftermath”, pretty much said it all. The aftermath not only of the damages of mankind and its exploits for global destruction, but the aftermath of their line-up changes and how the music was affected by them. The Thrash Metal is still Thrash but with a somewhat different taste in the tip of the tongue.

I have to come clean about “The Aftermath”. Looking back to the band’s early days of their 2007’s EP, “Extinguish The Weak”, and the following debut “Feed The Beast”, which was one of my top 10 releases for 2008, this latter material presented on this current tracklist didn’t even came close. Rather than sticking to the intensity of the Bay Area movement with similarities to EXODUS, HEATHEN, TESTAMENT and SLAYER that made them the eyesore they have become over the years, BONDED BY BLOOD, probably due to the new members in the band that provided their own inputs regarding Metal and Thrash in particular, seemed to break away from the Bay Area title and into the realm of the Alternative nation. Just for the record, I am not writing this because of their chosen cover for “Killing In The Name” by RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, which by the way sounds enormous with an almost accurate performance that somewhat even shadowed the original.

While comparing “The Aftermath” to “Feed The Beast”, and even the wonderful story of “Exiled To Earth”, I noticed how these foursome crew seemed to have lowered its bestial passion in order to slightly experiment on new things within their music. Not that it didn’t work out for them or something, because it did on several songs like “The Aftermath”, which shared a strong composure, and “In A Wake” that sounded a little dirtier, but there was a part of me that couldn’t accept the change, even if the band won’t admit it, that kept revealing its pointy nose all throughout the album. Refreshing things up will always be a virtue, especially when it comes to such a unvarying field of Metal such as Thrash, but in this meticulous case, I felt a little lack of force and blood. “Restless Mind” and “Show No Fear” are a promise that the youthful and aggressive spirit is still there, alive, breathing and waiting to burst out once again with vengeance. The riffing bled in the total chaos around it; solos quenched all opposition while the vocals kept on barking with anger. In addition, and even though in the studio you can do anything you want, I could feel the shortage of a second guitarist and his influence on the recording. Alex Lee’s touch on both rhythm and lead efforts were something else back in the early albums. On the other hand, Juan Juarez that took over the lead framework turned out to be quite a leader himself.

All in all, “The Aftermath” is a good release displaying the newfound face of BONDED BY BLOOD. It still have the force of the Bay Area but with a little bit of the odd flavour of the 90s Alternative music that faintly lowered the hefty Thrash combustion. Though it can’t be compared to the older stuff, I would still go for it.

3 Star Rating

1. I Can't Hear You
2. Shepherds of Rot
3. The Aftermath
4. Crawling in the Shadows
5. In a Wake
6. Repulsive
7. Among the Vultures
8. Show No Fear
9. Restless Mind
10. Left Behind
11. Killing in the Name (Rage Against The Machine cover) 
Mauro Gonzalez- Vocals
Juan Juarez- Guitar
Carlos Regalado- Drums
Jessie Sanchez- Bass
Record Label: Earache Records


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