“Starve” by Blood Youth

Harrogate quartet Blood Youth have been building up to the release of their second full length album “Starve” for a fair amount of time. Comprising vocalist Kaya Taurus, Guitarist Chris Pritchard, Bassist Big Les and Drummer Sam Hallett, the band toured across Europe with Crossfaith and shared stages with Stone Sour last year.

{51/50} starts the album off with DJ Sid Wilson inspired 111 second loop of buried distorted voices and a loose hip-hop drum beat. Dark atmospheric synths build through the mix and set an eerie tone for album title track opener “Starve” to kick in. A chunky Nu-Metal groove riff and some unclean not quite rap-screamed vocals make way for a brighter clean sun chorus with a more melodic guitar backdrop. Lyrically Nu-Metal introspection is the order of the day while musically it takes what the band did with 2017 debut “Beyond Repair” and elevates it all to a new level. “Cut Me Open” has a biting Slipknot -esq groove riff with Chris Pritchard doing his best Jim Root impression. There is even classic break for a piece of turntable work. There is the same inspiration that Death Blooms have on their heavier material but the bold big sing-a-long choruses will be the big buy in for new fans. “Spineless” continues the vibe with a bouncier riff and some swirling atmospherics. Kaya Taurus sings about only knowing anxiety and being the one you hate and there is a nostalgia that gives the whole thing a surprising amount of charm.

“Nerve” slows things down for a bass heavy spoken word atmospheric before building up to a long drawn out scream and some heavier riffage. If this is their take on some of the material from “Feed. Mate. Kill. Repeat.” then they’ve got it spot on. “The Answer” laments a useless existence, worthless and distant, opening up about deep felt anxieties over a bold chorus that makes way for an unclean version coupled with bludgeoning riffs and pummelling kit work. Closing with some programmed drums and a synth loop that acts as a pallet cleanser but also giving “Waste Away” some syths in the mix. It’s a tune more of the bands own styling than one with that lends itself to obvious comparisons and the album is better for it. Again a slow and melodic closing allows for a moment of clarity before the next tune comes in.

{stone.tape.theory} is a classic 72 second interlude of horror film samples, a programmed drum loop and some eerie noises to setup the brutal introduction of “Visitant”. Kaya Taurus delivers an improved vocal performance with dark synths providing atmosphere tightened up by some lead work that is kept low in the mix. The chugging rhythm parts then smash through that, much bolder in the mix and again this one is far more of their own work. “Keep You Alive” has something of the “Smile” era Cane Hill sound to it, with buried melodic backing vocal track that is very Elijah Witt sounding, not to mention the very KoRn clicky bass sound that is only made more obvious as the tune dies out with a bridge of bass alone against the songs very open, loose drum sound. “Nothing Left” brings some vinyl scratch work to break up the KoRn-ims. Almost tribal pre-Chorus drum fills make way for a bright clean vocal chorus that is short lived in favour of the barked unclean.

“Hate” is a 100 second burst of viseral violence, cathartic and uncomfortable but also settings the tone for the 11 minute outro that is “Exhale”. Eerie and off kilter from the very start, the tune slow builds with a burning angst that asks you to question everything. The gritty lyrics are matched by the gut wrenching vocals and a clear depth of emotion. The track false ends around the 6 minute mark with buried screams and a guitar doing a music box impression. Some unrecognisable voices and feedback extended over the sound of a woman sobbing before everything eventually dies.

If you’re after a piece of nostalgic Nu-Metal that sounds like it’s been ripped from the golden era of the sound and modernised for 2019, then look no further. Blood Youth have taken the best of Slipknot’s opening pair of albums, thrown in some early KoRn and Linkin Park elements and created something that is designed to make you feel uncomfortable [7/10]

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