Released: 2011, Roadrunner Records
Reviewer: Shawn Jam Hill
Party metal may have fallen out of favour shortly after KISS put out their MTV Unplugged snore-fest but London, Ontario’s Baptized In Blood have unleashed a wicked hard slab of driving metal that will get aging heshers ravenously digging through their closets in search of long-moldering cutoff denim jackets and fringed leather faster than you can say “Beer bongs all around”.
Lead throat Johl Fendley’s growling delivery mashes up the throaty barrage only hardcore can bring to life while twin lead shredders Nick Bertelsen and Josh Torrance swoop, rip and dive above and beyond the call of duty. Plug in Matt Harris’ bong-rattling bass skills and (recently departed) traps whiz Jason Longo and all you need in a two four of PBR (in cans, natch’) to get the party started. Dirty’s Back punk rock grind gives way to the cathartic Game On, a jam that balances melody with ferocity to create a heavy thrash vibe that slams ever so delicately.
Down And Out, replete with a squiggly guitar hook that lodges in your brainpan for days, furiously shreds to no end while giving a nod to the metalcore stylings of As I Lay Dying’s impassioned breaks while My Salute’s tribute to Pantera mosh-isms could sound wooden in a less capable band’s hands. Baptized In Blood have their own tone and unique style to rise above the zillions of mosh-core clones grappling for the brass ring.
With Dave Mustaine (!) in their corner on a managerial level, expect big things from the boys in 2011. I’ve witnessed their live attack in an intimate club setting here in Ottawa, Canada and they practically burst through the walls with the energy, precision and musicianship these rockers brought to the table. Next stop, The Big Time. That’s my Rockstradamus prediction for the year to come as I just try to not bang my gosh-darn head. Horns Up!