Catalonian metallers Blaze Out join a long list of Iberian Peninsula based metal bands I have covered, and all of them have one thing in common- they have a serious rhythmic groove to them. From Angelus Apatrida to Pánico Al Miedo to Nuckin’ Futs, there is a very tight and solid groove based influence which shoots off into thrash or death metal effortlessly and seems to draw from the turbulence in the region and is expressed in a very raw and passionate form. Blaze Out follow in this trend with their third album ‘Instinct’, and if you believe the presser which accompanied the CD, this band are on the rise and one to watch (along with plenty of other hyperbole and positive tropes). Let us see if following our instinct gives the same result as the hype-loaded paper accompanying this?

Musically, from the opening bars of “Toxic AF”, you can tell that this is inspired by the early years of this millennium, in particular the first few years of the first decade (The decline of Nu-Metal and rise of Metalcore/Modern Metal years). That solid scooped mid which was inspired by the 80’s thrash sound, a sound which bands like Lamb Of God and Trivium jumped on as they rose to prominence and used to great effect is present once again, and for people like myself, who were teenagers during that spell, it is a welcome nostalgic experience. There is plenty of attitude in the track, not just with its title and lyrical content, but the way it is delivered really stands out. It has that sharp vocal edge where crisp cleans can go emotionally charged or raw and roaring, the rhythmic undercurrent is tight and the groove element to the riffs is strong. Just off hearing this song alone, you would say that this sounds like a fairly promising modern thrash metal album.

This of course changes as the album progresses. The thrash elements still remain, but it is clear that as the tracks move forwards, the metalcore and melodic death metal influences start to come in. Bands like Wovenwar (Or As I Lay Dying in their earlier years), Unearth, Atreyu and Bullet For My Valentine start to become more prominent influences and that melodic pedal tone based riffing or memorable melodic lead hook refrain starts to take more prominence in the music rather than the scooped-mid chugging thrash attack. Still, irrespective of opinion regarding the previously mentioned bands, Blaze Out certainly live up to the sound those bands helped to establish.

Track wise, you have a wide range of approaches. Cult-following inspired tracks such as “Attack On Titan” (Manga Influenced) and the eponymous “Evil Dead” hit fast and hard, leaning more to the thrash metal side of things, merging hard hitting lyrical delivery with precise rhythmic assaults and wild solos. Tracks like “The Raise” and “Deadfall” are more dynamic and expressive – using clean arpeggios to help set some atmospheric impact and the impressive vocal gymnastics of going from gentle and/or emotionally charged clean to powerful growls on command, relying on clever progressions and melodic sequences to carry more than the riff itself and so on. “Drunk Empire” has potential if you completely disregard its chorus- the dirty/sleaze-laden chugging riffs and rowdy raw vocals work great, but the stop-start melodic chorus with clean/weaker vocals just kills its momentum almost as quick as someone calling last orders in a bar!

Other than the above, the rest of the tracks are fairly straight forwards. The simple blending of early millennium metalcore with thrash isn’t really a new thing, but it is effective when it comes to creating a well-rounded sound. “No More Fear” and “Face Your Scars” are straight up aggressive and hard hitting, featuring a great blend of riff work and virtuosity, adding some decent depth to the track listing, whilst the closing track; “The Goliath’s Fall” is a bit of an anomaly compared to the rest of the album. An apparent blending of all the musical approaches present on this album, this track is initially more technical/complex than the previous ones, but despite the musical delivery, it isn’t that attention grabbing until the 3 minute mark when a rather impressive dual guitar spot comes in. A 1-2 solo trade off into a dual lead spot is filled with plenty of virtuoso chops, melodic voicing’s and flair filled spots to provide a rather interesting conclusion to both the song and the release.

In all, “Instinct” is the type of album which is rather good, but will often be overlooked due to its influences and the style it is delivered in. The band themselves know what they are doing and they know how to deliver the type of music they want to play and if this was myself writing this back in the early 2000’s, I’d be proclaiming it one of the top albums of its year. Sadly, it’s 2019, not 2005, so the praise for this release is in a different context. “Instinct” is a trip down memory lane for people in my age group/musical generation and it’s executed well. It could be a bit more varied but for what it is and what it does, it works far better than all the hyperbole in the PR accompanying this release!

(7/10 Fraggle)