Super-group. An epithet banded about since the seventies and usually used for a bunch of rich hippies who got stoned and decided to make some extra cash by rehashing riffs from their parent bands.
Hardcore. A genre that seems to now describe an attitude rather than a sound. Anyone that sounds vaguely angry and plays guitar fast is apparently hardcore.
Well fuck your opinions and definitions. THIS IS HARDCORE! THIS is a SUPER(b) Group. Up In Arms is the album that proves there is still fire in NY city and Hardcore is not all screamo and arpeggio cinnamon lattes. Thank fuck.
John Joseph of Cro-Mags has taken his nickname and rebuilt an incendiary band from old friends who all happen to be legends. On bass ex Dwarves and QOTSA (and tonnes of other manic projects) Nick Oliveri. On guitar ex Ex Agnostic Front and Danzig shredder Todd Youth and thumping the fuck out of the tubs behind them is Joey Castillo ex Danzig and Eagles of Death Metal.
If you are a fan of “Age of Quarrel” you are gonna love Bloodclot. If you are a fan of music that makes you want to dive headlong into a sweaty pit, pick up fallen brothers and sisters and punch out any sexist gropers then this is the album for you. Modern production and Nick Oliveri have added in rib vibrating bass to the frantic hardcore blast. From the get go this is a maelstrom. If there is crossover it definitely leans further towards old skool hardcore punk than metal. John Joseph’s voice still sounds as vital and acidic as it did 30 years ago and the band behind him increase that vitality. This is a band that mean what they say and want to spread the word. Opening with the title track which seems almost epic in its 4 minute length there is a nod towards Sick of It All and some great textures throughout. Where Bloodclot come into their own is in the middle finger in the air hardcore blasts of “Fire” “Kali” and “Kill the Beast”. Heads down, tattooed limbs flying, wife beater wearing shit eating grin hardcore! It is daft to compare any of the tracks here to any other band when you have such luminaries creating it. “Manic” takes me right back to the first time I heard Cro-Mags, Agnostic Front and Suicidal Tendencies first album on bootleg tapes. The energy it produced recharges these old bones – I feel like a mobile phone on fast charge! “Prayer” keeps it topped up with a metallic verse leading to a drum laden chorus that heads towards an almighty beat down. The drums throughout this release are awesome. None of the tinny snare and messy fills that so many also rans of NYHC are guilty of. The beats here hold in the rhythm like nice thick black lines on a colour tattoo.
Like many from the subgenre John is a proud vegan and follower of Eastern philosophy so it is no surprise that Siva/Rudra makes an appearance. No slow mystical meditation though, it’s a rager as is “Soldiers of the New Babylon” that follows it.
“Slow Kill Genocide” rips into a Motorhead style riff and keeps the pace up whilst throwing in a melodic sung chorus with Oliveri and Youth layering on the chug to create a bouncy punked up politically aware with even a woah or two to keep Youth and Castillo’s ex employer happy.
Mr Youth gets to drop a Stigma style solo in during “Slipping in the Darkness” – bloody delicious it is too. So short! This album is moreish! “Life As One” is an angry bastard, the chorus is a spat out cry for unity.
Before I know it “You’ll Be the Death of Me” heralds the end of “Up In Arms”. A bit of Jello Biafra style warble adds a little West Coast to the Big Apple sound and these 12 tracks are done.
Bloodclot have released an album that proves all the energy, piss and vinegar of NYHC can sound huge and bombastic whilst keeping its feet firmly planted in the beer sodden pits of yesteryear. Essential listening for anyone that has ever swung an arm in fun and held out a helping hand to a fallen brother or sister.
(9.5/10 Matt Mason)