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Oldblood - Arms to the Sky

Arms to the Sky
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 23 November 2020, 12:17 PM

Formed in North London in 2018, OLDBLOOD have set about combining the members’ various musical tastes into one cohesive, blackened monstrosity - combining elements of Doom, Punk, Post-Metal and Black Metal. Currently preparing to release their debut EP “Arms to the Sky” on December 4, 2020, the album is four tracks themed around the dropping of the atomic bomb over Hiroshima - both aurally and lyrically. Crushing riffs combined with devastating melodies that paint the agonized picture of life before, during and after the nuclear explosion.

“Kuebiko” leads off the album, at just over eight-minutes in length. It begins with clean guitars and some dark tones. The main riff hits, and it’s crushingly heavy, with harsh vocals. There is an extended instrumental passage close to the half-way mark, but that crushing sound returns, along with screams over top the harsh vocals. A haunting melody appears at the end from the lead guitars, and then some punishing riffs close the song. “Nuclear Blues” is a six-minute track. Beginning with some clean guitars, and leading to a mysterious sound, as if the bomb over Hiroshima was just dropped and you are now faced with the aftermath. Confusion, dead bodies everywhere, fire and screaming are just a few things that you hear. Odd, mesmerizing sounds come at you along with a lumbering pace.

“Los Alamos” is just under eight-minutes in length, opening with clean guitars and a feeling of impending doom. The main riff drops and it’s very heavy. The vocals are in the background at first, and it’s back to the clean guitars again for a spell, making the distorted guitar passages hit with more impact. The screams are tortured wails. There is an ambient passage towards the end, and then the sound roars back like a caged tiger who hasn’t been fed for days. “Alone” closes the EP. It’s seven minutes of what you might expect after a nuclear fall-out. Sad, depressing tones open the song, as you begin to try to do things like locate family members, and find shelter in a city completely torn apart by the nuclear explosion. The harsh vocals and guitar strikes are absolutely gut-wrenching. It ends with a big crescendo of sound.

This was very moving experience. I hear most elements of Doom and Black/Post-Black Metal in the album…not so much Punk. But the experience of going through something of this magnitude forever changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. You can hear their suffering, confusion, and anguish in every note, every guitar strike, and in every scream. The music connects directly with the vocals to leave you totally crushed…everything you know and love is gone forever. OLDBLOOD nailed those feelings with “Arms to the Sky.”

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Kuebiko
2. Nuclear Blues
3. Los Alamos
4. Alone
Joey Williams – Guitar & Vocals
Tom Pratt – Guitar & Vocals
Brendan Coles – Bass & Vocals
Lee Barter – Drums
Record Label: Independent


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