Bloodred Hourglass // Lifebound
Rating: 3.5/5.0 — How’s about a heaping helping of core?
Label: Spinefarm Records
Websites: facebook.com/bloodredhourglass | www.brhg.net
Release Date: EU: 2012.08.24 | NA: No clue.
“Hard as a Rock” off AC/DC’s Ballbreaker album says it all: “So low and dirty, it’s darn right mean.” These five Finns have a ballsy, edgy, in your face attitude that you’ll pick up on quickly – they go so far as to say, and I quote, “Boundaries shall be broken / We told you.” Bloodred Hourglass have quite a mixture of influences and dimensions to their sound, these range from groove-metal, thrash metal, death metal, hardcore and some metalcore, but I liken their sound to that of Lamb of God, Pantera and to some extent Damageplan. Much like it’s been said before about Lamb of God, I see Bloodred Hourglass as “a punk band that plays heavy metal.”
Let’s cut to the chase, shall we? Lifebound has a two personalities, on one side you have a collection of epic, well-executed, atmospheric instrumental pieces and on the other you’re faced with pure all out full throttle aggression. With the latter Bloodred Hourglass follow the hardcore formula to the letter: loud and fast. “We Lived Like Kings” and “Ghost Wounds” are prime examples of the caliber of instrumental pieces you’ll find on Lifebound and of the two it’s the 2.32 minute long “Ghost Wounds” that reminds me of something from pre-Heritage Opeth. The remaining 9 tracks cannon ahead with easily as much skill and aggression to the max as anything you would expect to find in Lamb of God or Pantera’s extensive combined offerings.
It’s not all just aggression and riffs, though, “Speed Superstar”, “Castle Ashtray” and “Scapegoat” have some great guitar solos, and the raw unrelenting power contained in these songs left me wanting more of the same. Even the drums are stand out, with tight and impressive drum work, like from “Above All” at the 2:20 minute mark – now that I’d like to see live! Finally, vocalist Koukonen is a pretty solid frontman who shifts effortlessly and successfully between hardcore screams and aggressive death growls. From time to time the vocal quality of the album slips and it’s these moments where the vocals take on a muddy and slurred sound that drag the album down from great to good.
Barring the sometimes drop in vocal quality the album production is solid and works well to highlight the solid musicianship that Bloodred Hourglass offer their fans. Selecting my favorite tracks off the album ended being a lot tougher than I originally expected – really the album works as a whole and has a great and comfortable flow… why just listen to one track! If hard pressed though I would select “Ghost Wounds”, “Speed Superstar” and the catchy as hell “Of Regret, Fear and Forgiveness” as these tracks definitely showcase the bucket loads of talent these Finns have on offer.
While I can’t say I feel hard pressed to spin my Lamb of God albums all day every day, or Pantera for that matter, they do have their niche on my playlist and Bloodred Hourglass will fit in with ease and relative comfort alongside them. If you enjoy your metal served with a helping of core, loud enough to make your ears bleed and breakneck fast, you should give Lifebound 43 minutes of your time.