Newcomers from Salt Lake City, Blood Star are set to release their debut release The Fear. Although it contains only two songs, if their inevitable upcoming full length release is a reflection or expounding on what the EP presents there is room in the metal world for more Blood Star. It seems like these days “traditional heavy metal” is a moniker that gets thrown around and slapped on more releases than “doom metal” did ten years ago. Blood Star however is one of the rare bands deserving of the “traditional heavy metal” label.
In this EP’s two songs “The Fear” and “Tortured Earth”, Blood Star lets the song writing do the heavy lifting. Pretty much every aspect of the vocals and instrumentation show a very simple/utility based style of playing that lets the listener appreciate the song itself without each instrument squabbling and vying for position in the listeners ear. Madeline Smith, the vocalist, plays her part in this by singing in a way which oft can be haunting and vibrant but doesn’t overpower the instruments. Often lead vocalists rob, cheat, and steal to be the clear focal point of the music much to the detriment of the overall sound. She may be able to blow the doors off of the studio with her voice, but opts instead for an interpretation that is understated and subtle. Sometimes it feels like some female fronted bands have a woman lead singer perhaps just to gain the title of “female fronted band”. On occasion these singers can be weak or have a forced and manufactured approach due to a lack of ability/range/experience which detracts and overshadows all aspects of the music. It is clear Smith is here because of who she is, not what she is. Her ability and merit is why she’s in the band. Blood Star plays as a single unit not as a mundane/supporting backup act for her singing. She has a very relaxed, simple and natural style which is shored up and bolstered by the rest of the bands rock solid and straightforward approach.
Neither of the two songs on this EP are laid back or aloof. They are both well written, punchy and are a great representation of “traditional heavy metal”. “The Fear” is a thundering ripper that looks back into a metal time capsule, it has speed, bounce, and a layout akin to Riot’s thrashy “Thundersteel”. Track two, “Tortured Earth” is disturbingly catchy. It creates an earworm that will burrow into the heads of listeners, in a good way. Although the bands “up the middle” approach is appropriate and works very well for them, it will be fun to see where they go from here and if they can be a bit more dynamic technically in a way that supplements their honest, pre-existing approach.
Out on May 29 via Shadow Kingdom Records.
- The Fear
- Tortured Earth