Released: 2009, Candlelight Records
To be very honest with you, this just sounds like Obituary-lite, hardly shocking since it’s comprised of John and Donald Tardy, and surprise surprise, Ralph Santolla. I have to ask why they even bothered to do a side-project since BLOODLINE wouldn’t sound out of place on the Obituary back catalogue. Fair enough, it doesn’t sound much like SLOWLY WE ROT-era Obituary, but it sounds close enough to XECUTIONER’S RETURN to mark a slight progression of sorts.
First, the differences to Obituary. It actually does remind me of the death ‘n’ roll of early Entombed, cliched though it may be to cite WOLVERINE BLUES, but it has the same bouncy vibe, if more slowed down. In fact, BLOODLINE sounds very much like mid-tempo thrash, if you can imagine the swagger of Pantera mixed in with some slowed-down IMMORTALIS-era Overkill. It sounds a weird mixture I grant you, but it actually does work!
Also, the soloing duties are shared out between four guest lead guitarists (although I can’t tell which solo belongs to who): Scott Johnson, Ralph Santolla, original Executioner guitarist Jerry Tidwell, and the young whizkid John Li (who also played on Steve Asheim’s Order of Ennead). Ralph Santolla gets a lot of flak for being such a band whore, and I’ve never heard of either Scott Johnson or Jerry Tidwell, but the leads on BLOODLINE are pretty fresh and interesting. Just my imagination?
Unfortunately, John sounds exactly the same as he does in Obituary, while Don Tardy never really over-extends himself, and therein lies the problem with their side project. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that this is Obituary B-material, in fact, it could very well be Obituary A-material! But BLOODLINE doesn’t differentiate itself enough for me to forget the Obituary connection. This was probably the chance for Don and John to explore their rockier side, and this is probably what they attempted to do, but not enough for my money. The only song that actually sounds like their own is unsurprisingly the instrumental ‘Wired’, with some great leadwork.
Get this album if you’re a fan of Obituary, which I definitely am, especially later-era Obituary where they slowed down the death riffs and adopted a thrashier approach. However, don’t get this album if you’re expecting to see a different side of the Tardy Brothers, because I think you’ll be disappointed.