BLOODCLOT – “Souls”
BlLOODCLOT began its existence in the early ‘80s as almost a utilitarian entity designed to both open for and roadie for the legendary hardcore group BAD BRAINS. Sometime around 2008 the band, led by John Joseph (ex-CRO-MAGS), transitioned into a formidable studio project, recording and releasing its debut album “Burn Babylon Burn!”. Ten years later Joseph assembled a new lineup to write and record BLOODCLOT’s sophomore effort “Up in Arms,” featuring members of QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, KYUSS and DANZIG.
“Souls” is BLOODCLOT’s third release, and it features the most NYHC-centric line up yet including guitarist Tom Capone (ex-QUICKSAND, BEYOND, BOLD), bassist Craig Setari (SICK OF IT ALL, ex-YOUTH OF TODAY, AGNOSTIC FRONT), and drummer Darren Morgenthaler (MAXIMUM PENALTY, ex-MADBALL). The album boasts six new originals and a cover of BAD BRAINS’ “How Low Can a Punk Get?”.
The first thing that stands out is the album’s superior sonics. Mixed and mastered by Chriss Collier (KORN, PRONG, WHITESNAKE), “Souls” sounds great. It’s punchy, meaty, clear, and big.
Musically, the album is solid if not the freshest approach I’ve ever heard. Five of the originals are straightforward d-beat based New York hardcore with thrash tropes sprinkled throughout. Those tunes showcase the speed and aggression that’s implied by the band’s lineup and what each member brings to the table. The only real dud on the album is a tune called “Infectious” which feels straight out of the “Chad-Rock” playbook, complete with a droning ALICE IN CHAINS-style chorus and riffs that people with two first names will hum to themselves long after driving home from their local watering holes. It’s the aesthetic antithesis of what I think of when I think about NYHC. The album’s best song is the one written by BAD BRAINS.
Overall, BLOODCLOT’s “Souls” is a good collection of tunes, but something feels lacking. For all the band’s New York bona fides and decades of experience creating not only this music but the culture that surrounds it, “Souls” feels a little too safe and a little too polished, lending credence to the idea that even “dangerous” art loses its fangs, eventually.