Review: “Insolent” by Bloodline

Dallas, Texas is the home of Alternative Metalcore band Bloodline. Released 23rd March 2018, “Insolent” is the follow up to the bands 2015 debut 7 track EP entitled “III” which features Ben English of Invent, Animate on “Death’s Door”. Releasing the album title track way back in September 2017, a whole 6 months before the album appeared may have seemed like a risk, but actually it played to the bands strengths by introducing the bands existing fan base to the new sound: clean vocals lines. (Note: Before anyone puts anything in the comments – we’ve chosen the “Insolent” single cover for the feature image rather than the album cover as the bands name is more prominent!). Bloodline have shared stages with VCTMS, Bad Omens & Degrader in the last 12 months. So what does “Insolent” sound like?

Opening up the album with the title track “Insolent”, Bloodline set the tone by fusing Metallic Hardcore inspired bouncy riffage over Nu-Metalcore vocals. Balancing off a surprisingly big chorus and including some beatdown speed breakdowns and a surprise “Arf!”. There is an obvious Slipknot influence in the pre-chorus before the song slows for that chorus and the not-quite cleans actually make for sounding frontman Joseph sound like he’s got an Baltic accent hidden in there somewhere before bursting into some Danny Leal of Upon A Burning Body inspired stylings. “No Way Out” ups the pace while keeping the bouncy chugging guitars while adding some buried electronics into the mix. The big chorus is present again but this time in a single line, the title of the song. “N.S.T.B.” introduces more Nu-Metalcore stylings with an electronic intro bursting into some of the bands (at this point) trademark heavy guitar tones. Adding rap screams and “What bitch/Bitch what/ha-ha” which starts off a bit cringe-worthy on the first few listens but grows on you after that. The riffs are infectious and crossover into Deathcore territory at points, while the vocal range (on the unclean side) on show within the one song is pretty impressive. “Self Diagnosed” shows off the skills of Engineer, Mixer & Masterer Matt Dierkes and the closing brutal Deathcore breakdown and vocal layering hints at the band moving in a heavier direction at a later date.

“Faded Memory” has by far the biggest chorus of the album to this point and is standout as a single in that regard. The question is whether the band would entertain stripping out some of the Deathcore vocal elements and deliver an edited version of the song as a single to gain air play. Up until the first chorus, the song is tech-inspired and driven before introducing some leads that act to left the song but also slow the pace to allow the chorus space. Contrast that against the Deathcore (as in Traitors) vocals across a big breakdown before a final chorus flourish and it’s works even though it probably shouldn’t. “Lifeless” starts off with a programmed bass line underpinned by some electronic drums before picking up into some chunky riffage, though a decent extended guitar solo is almost drowned out by the pre-chorus gutturals. Fortunately the lead part returns later in the song across a beatdown inspired breakdown section pre-final chorus. The vocal layering within the chorus is a surprise because the cleans are balanced off by a buried unclean. “Born To Lose” brings back the question about where Bloodline’s vocalist comes from with a very a another language to English element in the clean chorus elements. It almost makes the clean vocals sound forced in places which detracts from an otherwise overall solid track, complete with angst ridden introspective lyrics. “Stress Case” has an instant hook but you may feel that you’ve heard it before when you’ve stopped banging your head. That’s because you have, the band have re-worked the riff from KoRn‘s “Blind” to deliver it harder and faster, as if 1999’s Slipknot had covered it. Again the big clean chorus probably shouldn’t work in the context of the heavier nature of this track, but they somehow manage to carry it off.

“Let Me Go” starts with the buried electronica and programmed beats before a corrupted sample allows the guitars to kick in. Bloodline then tread the ground that Wage War have also trodden, moving between Metallic Hardcore and Deathcore within a single song and showcasing their song writing capabilities by keeping it all together in a neat, bouncy and energetic bundle that doesn’t let up. “Dissipate” continues things at pace, but manages to drop the pace during a slightly awkward clean chorus over heavier guitars, though it has to be said that the closing guitar solo is spot on and you want it to continue. “Schizo” introduces battering ram staccato guitars into the intro music while flooding the post chorus with some tech-inspirations before the closing hurricane of Joey Jordison inspired drum patterns, which are a joy. “Abandoned” doesn’t let up for the final track, no sir. Instead, Bloodline pile through a breakdown fest of a song with multi-layered throat shredding vocals. “I maybe abandoned but I will not be forgotten” pretty much sums up the album as a whole.

Bloodline are a band under the influence of a number of their peers in the current Metal scene, while sprinkling their own flavour onto what is a highly polished full debut album in “Insolent”. There is no doubting the bands musicianship or song writing ability even if at times there is a sense that there is a formula in place. That formula works here and there are a number of occasions where some of the experimentation shouldn’t work but somehow the band manage to make it work. No-one can accuse Bloodline of selling out, despite the introduction of clean vocals on “Insolent” because the anvil heavy throat shredding vocals on the same songs that have some of the biggest clean vocal elements are unbelievable. Expanding the vocal range doesn’t actually seem necessary but does bring Bloodline in-line with it’s genre peers and at that point the question becomes, where do Bloodline see themselves going? Do they want to be a Deathcore band with Metallic hardcore elements or do they want to introduce more clean vocals? They are capable of both and need to avoid muddying the waters by doing a half way house. [7.5/10]

Track list

  1. “Insolent”
  2. “No Way Out”
  3. “N.S.T.B.”
  4. “Self Diagnosed”
  5. “Faded Memory”
  6. “Lifeless”
  7. “Born To Lose”
  8. “Stress Case”
  9. “Let Me Go”
  10. “Dissipate”
  11. “Schizo”
  12. “Abandoned”

“Insolent” by Bloodline is available over at bandcamp.

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