It seems strange to us that a band, and a very good one can lose track and memory of a bunch of master tapes of unreleased recorded material but that is exactly what happened with US hardcore innovators BL’AST!. Thankfully for the world their discovery was made in an abandoned storage locker by guitarist Mike Neider who contacted Southern Lord with the news of his discovery and to shorten the story a little now we have the quite stunning furnace of fury to devour, an album which will be ravenous consumed such its startling presence.
Formed in 1982, the Santa Cruz band had the genre instantly drooling with their debut album The Power of Expression in 1985. Intense and dramatically potent their release and sound started the highly influential impression the band cast over hardcore over the following years, their live performances which saw them play with bands such as Exploited and Slayer only cementing their rapidly earned status. Signing with SST Records, the band released the devastating It’s In My Blood in 1987 with the equally impacting third, Take The Manic Ride following two years later. Not long after that record the band split up and certainly outside of the US, band and name arguably drifted into the shadows. BL’AST! did reunite in 2001 briefly for a few shows but little more was heard until the very discovery.
The recording sees a line-up including current Alice In Chains vocalist William Duvall who had joined BL’AST! as second guitarist at the time. His tenure was short lived and no recordings with him involved were ever released, until now. From Neider contacting Southern Lord Records’ Greg Anderson also of SUNN O))), the material was offered and placed before BL’AST! enthusiast Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters) who eagerly snapped up the chance to mix the recordings. What has emerged is easily one of the best hardcore releases in modern times and one can happily suggest easily on par with what made the band so important and influential back in the eighties, so again the question lingers how did these tracks get missed at the time, as undoubtedly they are nowhere near being throwaway not good enough slices of antagonism.
Anyway they are here now to chew up the senses and the release takes little time to excite the ear as opener Only Time Will Tell goes to work. The immediate bass grinding of the senses is just delicious, a gnarly belligerent beckoning skirted by equally appetising discord lit guitar and thumping drums. It is the narwhale like call of the second guitar which unites it all to one of the best introductions to a song heard in a long time, so impressive and enjoyable that once into its stride the track is almost an anti-climax. Bruising and making welcome demands with the Malcolm Owen like vocals a caustic provocateur the encounter unleashes riffs and rhythms which taunt and eye ball the senses contagiously. Not for the first time on the album thoughts of the Ruts, not only vocally are rife and eagerly approved.
The following Ssshhh certainly does not understand its title, a crazed vocal squall heralding another fire of riffs and sonic abrasion which ignites the senses and passions. As with its predecessor the song is relatively straight forward but littered with hooks and slight grooves that grip attention and pleasure with ease as do the likes of the antagonistic Sometimes and the lethal Winding Down. The first of these two lashes and burns the ear with twisting sonic flames and savage energy whilst its successor lays down another strong bass enticement before expelling a predacious ferocity that sweeps the emotions up in a tempest of rhythmic and sonic incitement.
Through further rapacious persuasion with the likes of Tomorrow with its ridiculously addictive and blistering waspish breath and the pulsating Your Eyes, the album just seeps deeper into the psyche and passions, the second of the two a doom clad deliberate prowl which acid burns the flesh of the ear with sonic toxicity whilst offering the shadows of The Damned to its air. It is a brief treat leading straight into another pinnacle of the album in the virulent Poison and its irresistible anthemic pestilence.
The album is completed by It’s In My Blood, another song where the bass lays down a riveting bass and temptation for the guitars and drums to prowl and embellish with voraciousness. Sizzling hooks and grooves make a web of intrigue and compulsion only slightly tempered by the brutally forged eye to eye vocal scalding whilst into its hungry flow the song breaks out with a noise rock scything within an epidemic punk pathogen. It concludes an exhausting wholly outstanding assault which may be comprised of old tracks but is easily as fresh and vital as anything around today. A brief mention also for Grohl and his masterful touch which is just as important in making Blood so refreshing and impressive. Dare we hope this marks the return of BL’AST!
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from