Recorded at Red City Recordings, Manchester by producer and mix engineer David Radahd-Jones, Death Blooms’ self-titled debut EP is released Friday 12 May 2017.
- Paul Barrow—Vocals
- Ad Lucas—Guitar
- Ben Grimsley—Bass
- Mel Stewart—Drums
- Last ones
- I’m dead
Death Blooms are a new alternative metal band on the UK scene, hailing from Manchester and Liverpool in the north-west of England. This is their debut EP and it’s really rather good.
That old adage “always leave them wanting more” is certainly true for this self-released EP (launched on Friday 12 May 2017). By the end of this four track recording I felt quite disappointed that there wasn’t more.
Musically, Death Blooms have a very modern metal sound. Vocalist Paul Barrow offers a gruff hardcore/metalcore vocal that isn’t afraid of softening a little to carve out some beautiful melodies, accompanied by a very competent-sounding band.
The EP opens with an in-your-face, punchy little number with the cheerful title of “Hate:Die” (track 1). From the very first note, vocals are screaming, guitars are riffing, drums pounding. It’s certainly a bold entrance and one that initially took me a little by surprise and somewhat off-putting.
But that initial explosion, is immediately responded with an almost-whispered response, “then hate, then die, then hate, then die” that reminded in some part of—of all things—”What makes you tick” by Terrorvision. About a minute in, the chorus reveals a melodic core. It’s a classic combination: hard exterior, soft centre.
“Last ones” (track 2) retains the urgency but softens things just a little with a little less brutal opening. The riff is more melodic, as is the chorus (“If the skies should fall, we’ll be the last ones standing”). The band thumps around, throwing in a few interesting twists and turns and some colossal sounding riffs.
“I’m dead” (track 3)—see the video below—returns to the same song structure as the EP opener with the vocals leading from the go, like Hatebreed’s “Straight to your face” does. The song gallops through a solid riff, gruff vocals throughout, until a slightly more melodic middle-eight sung in chorus leads the song to a stomping conclusion.
EP closer “Sick” (track 4) begins with a complex guitar riff that weaves itself through the drums and screaming vocals. By now, Death Blooms have already revealed their hand and so the song structure and song textures are quite predictable: bouncy, shouting vocals broken up with more melodic, multi-voice choruses.
And then it suddenly goes quiet and it feels somewhat unfinished… always leave them wanting more, right? And that’s a good thing.
There is a vitality, a freshness and a sense of urgency about Death Blooms’ music that I really like. It’s exciting to hear such good quality British metal being created and exciting that such music can be released independently and still distributed widely.
While the four songs don’t stray too far from the same hardcore/metalcore/alt-metal formulas, it’s a solid approach and it still sounds fresh and relevant. I’d love to hear a full-length album to hear where else Death Blooms could take their sound, and what else they could achieve.
As it is, I’m perfectly happy with this EP. It’s a great start. I can only wish the band well in the future. Definitely a band to listen out for and look out for—they’ve already been seen live alongside Skindred and Raging Speedhorn.
Review score: 80%
Stampede Press UK contacted me inviting me to preview Death Blooms’ forthcoming EP, which I was delighted about.
I have no connections to either Stampede Press UK or Death Blooms. I’m not being paid to review this. But I did get a free digital copy of the album to review which is pretty cool.
Many thanks to Rob from Stampede Press UK, and to Paul, Ad, Ben and Mel for continuing to create fresh, interesting metal in the UK.