I guess being born in the mid-90s has caused me to listen to a lot more of the newer thrash metal than the older guys that saw the births of Slayer and Metallica. Well, if you’re an older thrash fan, let this review be a suggestion of one of the new thrash bands out there you probably haven’t heard of. If you’re my age and haven’t already heard of Bonded by Blood or just haven’t listened to them, YOU HAVE TO LISTEN TO THIS RECORD! This album has received critical acclaim from critics worldwide and the band is loved by thrash metal legends such as Death Angel, Kreator, Destruction, Sodom, Testament, Anthrax, and Overkill! Just that alone suggests that these guys have to at least be SOMEWHAT musically talented and legit. Well, my review on this album does nothing but further support the hype that this album (and their second album) has created.
I’m going to start off by telling you my absolute FAVORITE thing about this album (which ironically has very little to do with the music itself). For some reason, I can be a real tight-ass when it comes to how the drums sound. Maybe that’s not the right way to say it…let’s say that I have a HUGE soft spot for albums where the drums sound AMAZING. Here’s what makes the drums for this particular album so great: it’s the first thing you hear when you start the first song! Once you hear that extremely juicy drum intro, you’re yanked into the blinding speed of the 21st thrash metal sound at its best. But of course, this guy is nowhere near being the best in the genre, but that’s where my favorite part of this guy comes in, and that’s how his drums sound. The drums on this album have more PUNCH than any other thrash metal album in existence. Every piece of his set also has a really thick sound that has an immense amount of sharpness to make him sound more technical. Honestly, that’s the best way I can put it into words; LISTEN TO IMMORTAL LIFE to get the full experience!
The guitars have a really gritty crunchiness to them that helps make up for the punch of the drums. The bassist has also put quite a bit of distortion on his guitar in most of the album (except for when he’s soloing). There is one thing that took me some getting used to: the vocalist. I was a bit uneasy about his vocals having that belted-out girly sound because it didn’t seem to fit the music. After about a year of listening to Bonded by Blood, I got used to his yells and actually came to realize that he puts more power and force into his yells than most other thrash metal vocalists.
Before you get the impression that this is PURE thrash metal that has no unique or new qualities (which is what I thought at first), think again. There are GROWLS implemented in most of the songs throughout the album. Even though they’re far from being the primary vocal style used on this record, they do give it an interesting twist. There are some people (whom I’ve asked their opinion on this) that have told me they don’t really like this experimentation at all (some having stronger feelings than others). But most of the people that I’ve asked about this said that they don’t really know what to think of it, but it doesn’t bring down the music in any way. And yes, I know that this isn’t the first thrash metal band to do growls (others being Testament and Artillery), but this is still a mainly unexplored area that hasn’t been touched by very many thrash metal bands out there (let alone making it sound good).
Along with Killing Season (Death Angel), Let there be Blood (Exodus), The Formation of Damnation (Testament), and Death Magnetic (Metallica); Feed the Beast earns its position with these albums as being one of the best thrash metal albums of 2008. Although there are many other thrash bands out there that are far better, Bonded by Blood is one of the best thrash metal bands to form in the 21st century (Havok being the absolute best). I would give Feed the Beast 19/20.