Reviewed: October 2021
Released: 2021, Eclipse records
Reviewer: Svetlana Likhacheva
Shotgun Facelift, the melodic groove metal five-piece from North Dakota, are ready to present their brand new record, Dakota Blood Stampede. After a long break and major line-up changes, the band has a stronger setup than ever. Moreover, they chose a challenging way of making the record – the band was playing all together, as if they were on stage. With a fair share of effort during recording process, Shotgun Facelift managed to input the spark of live performance into their creation.
The first songs are very energetic, powerful and dynamic, with great instrumentals. I especially enjoyed Famine – its intro reminded me of Five Finger Death Punch and a bit of my all-time favourite band, Black Veil Brides. It’s a marvellous track with great dark lyrics, mind-blowing guitar riffs and flawless composition. Shotgun Facelift has done an excellent job combining raw emotion with accurate, verified and logical structure of the track.
All of the “focus tracks” of the record are absolutely iconic. Bury Me has the extraordinary brutal intro and strong lyrics. The transitions and instrumentals are made splendidly, as well as the vocals, leaving a great, emotional song. 5 Dollar Bastard has the strongest “live show” feeling among other tracks in the album. It is a deeply personal track for the band’s vocalist, John Huber, and we can clearly get that while listening to this immaculate song. The honest emotion in vocals – insults, rage and raw aggression combines perfectly with heavy and fierce instrumentals. Definitely one of the best tracks from the record.
There are a couple more nice dynamic songs after these two tracks. Mark of Cain is filled with pain and in the same time strength, and its lyrics strongly reminded me of early Three Days Grace, which is definitely a good sign for me. Dakota Blood Stampede’s intro sounds brilliant! The drumming and guitar riffs are marvellous and dynamic, matching the catchy, strong, even provocative lyrics. An awesome title track.
The last focus track, Suicide Eyes, is completely divergent from other songs in the record. It’s slow, and the vibe is less aggressive, more of a tragic one. It has a deep feeling of frustration, depression, and despair – I could barely hold back tears while listening to it. The emotions caged in this track are so true that they can hurt.
Overall, I am pretty impressed with the record. Shotgun Facelift has done a great job writing and recording such a good album – I would say they totally deserve to be checked out.