*Warning!!!* This review is not censored… because you can’t censor metal.*
Not very often does a thrash/metal band manage to be melodic while still maintaining their hardcore metal flame. Especially when they bend the genre by including musical arrangements so far from the norm. But Baptized In Blood’s self title album shows that they are the exception. They find that fine line were metal becomes less about the shitty things in your life and more about embracing it. A metal album that makes you feel good and still want to head bang? This is very rare to find in todays scene when the onslaught of cookie cutter metal bands grease up the stage for everyone. Yet Ontario’s own Baptized In Blood manage to spin the genre on many fronts.
Their unforgettable instrumental versatility is displayed through their searing guitar rifts, haunting vocals, and pavement crushing bass and drums. For metals fans that haven't heard of Baptized In Blood yet, put down some of the more uninspired albums in your library. Pick this album up and enjoy a metal band that retains their edge and still succeeds at being progressive.
From the fade in at the start they pond and smash their instruments in “Up Shirts Down Skirts”. Being the first track on the album they come out full tilt with the rhythm and vocals that you will find relentlessly burned into your skull. The song skirts across the serious lyrics by providing a fast paced rift to keep you energized. Like with most Baptized In Blood songs you will start off happily rocking until somehow your emotions will shift to fit the song. By the time the guitar solo hits, you will be screaming the hallelujah chorus right along side the hard yet melodic lead singer Johl Fendley.
Baptized In Blood brings dirty back in every way but what you would first think when seeing the track, “Dirty’s Back”. This is the song that any true metal head can relate to. They bring it back the way only metal can by talking about their dirty fucking mouths, not washing their jeans in weeks, drunken brawls, and just not caring. Isn’t this what metal is all about? Being “dirty”, in your face, and embracing it.
Guitarists Josh Torrance and Nick Bertelsen deserve praise for creatively and powerfully engaging the audience with their unique breakdowns. At times the entire pace of the song switches after it, offering an even bigger display of their musical prowess. The pulls and rifts almost completely take over the songs like “Game On, “Down And Out”, and “Go It Alone” as they blend beautifully with the accompanying bass and drums. The entire band deserves kudos for succeeding in creating a 12 track album thats replay value never reaches a state of repetitiveness.
The final track on the album lyrically and musically leaves the listeners on a emotion high point. “Event Horizon” is a rarity in the heavy metal genre and supplies a fitting epitome for the album. The song is about picking yourself up out of a depression and facing the day. They are not the first to touch upon this topic by any means but their spin is a unique one. “There is always a silver lining in every black cloud in the sky. The sun will still rise tomorrow and one day you will see the light. Open your eyes.” They are simply stating that shit happens to everyone but we still got to deal with it.
Ultimately I believe this to be the essence of the album and their stance as a band in todays metal genre. That it is OK to feel your emotions and constructively express your anger, just don’t let it consume you. They tackle many of the standard themes in metal but always from a power position. By conveying control lyrically when delving into darker subject matter, they always end with a tone of self empowerment. They deliver their message even clearer with each song ending on a powerful musical high. Lets face it, the crushing stigma that metal is only about anger, revenge, depression, and death is what pigeon holes most metal bands into following the same uninspired tune. Yet Baptized In Blood keeps their heavy edge while still providing a refreshing outlook that urges us metal heads to remind ourselves of the good things in life. To get mad, get over it, and get living.