Review: “Life Is Pain” by Death Blooms

“We recorded the album last year with David Radahd-Jones in Manchester at Red City, which seems like a lifetime ago at this point. We’ve been in the exact same position as everyone else: raring to go, but waiting for the right moment. These songs were all written before what’s happened in the last 18 months, but I feel like they’ve been given a new meaning and a new lease of life, and I’m hoping that’ll resonate with everyone who hears them. Initially, we had intended to release a 13 track album, but we had to adapt and think fast, so we decided to split off a few songs, which ended up being our EP, F*** Everything, that was released earlier this year. I do still feel like these songs are part of the album, so we’ll be giving them as much live love as the actual album tracks. I just didn’t want anyone to feel short-changed, so we decided to run with things as differently as we could for the album. The songs really are a delve into torment, human psyche, catharsis and release.” ~ Vocalist Paul Barrow

Liverpool residents Death Blooms have been on our radar since we witnessed their incendiary live show as they opened for King 810 at Camden Underworld in the heart of London. It was a night to remember as while the outfit were only on their debut self titled EP but had their live show nailed tighter than a coffin and have since done exactly as we predicted that night, gone from strength to strength, growing in stature with each subsequent release and standing beside bigger and bigger bands and holding their own in the live arena. Being totally honest, the release of their EP “F*** Everything” earlier this year came as something of a surprise when we were expecting a full length but it’s an absolute ripper and given frontman Paul Barrow’s comments above, you can see why they chose to split off some tracks because the quality is there, so why not use them?

Opening the album with a punch in the face of sheer aggression with “Shut Up” that wears its Nu-Metal influences on its sleeve like a badge of pride, combining pounding rhythms, throat shredding vocals and well placed buried electronics makes for an instant winner. Rather than a solo, Death Blooms have opted for a huge breakdown and it absolutely crushes. Barrow has a some Americanisms in his clean vocals that rear their ugly head in “In Your Head“, the second thunderous cut, for a sing-a-long chorus. Those are tastefully backed by uncleans that give the impression of two vocalists but when it comes to “Caught In A Web“, there is another clean vocal phrasing in play giving the impression of a split personality. There is no doubt that Barrows vocals have improved, especially the cleans, over the releases. The unrelenting energy that the band have in their live show hurt locker has been captured here like lightning in a bottle and if anything the album becomes a warning shot across the bow of any band looking to tap them up for tour support – you’re going to have to be on your absolute A game if you don’t want to get blown away by these Gentlemen every night. There are two cuts that featured on the “F*** Everything” EP that have been retained for the album, the title track and “Anger“, both of which are solid, high octane modernisations of the Nu-Metal sound that have a big chorus that doesn’t lose any of the energy.

What the group, rounded out by guitarist Jack Ormond-Prout, bassist Lewis Smith and drummer Dean Marshall, have done is create a set of cuts that sit really well together and give the album a really nice flow from start to finish with nothing being out of place. Would the album have been too long with the 3 additional tracks that went on the EP? Probably not – but some of them may not have stood out as much. Releasing the EP kept the band in the public eye until the live shows could start up again and if that was also part of the intention, then it has been a roll of the dice that has paid of handsomely. The thunderous “Waste” brings with it dark synths during the battery acid nausea of the atmospheric and introspective lyrics and will resonate with anyone who has felt the kind of pain that makes them want to hide away from the World. There are plenty of ear worm riffs within the fold of this album and “One Release” is arguably the finest of those as the band follow the likes of Blood Youth down Alice’s rabbit hole of Slipknot worship with the Iowa natives influence ringing in your ears as loud and clear as an air raid siren and the same can be said of the pure stomping evil that is “Choke“. Stateside there is a movement that is seeing bands like Orthodox and Bloodbather taking Hardcore to new depths of unease with Nu-Metal influence and there are times here where Death Blooms do the same thing but attacking from the Alternative Metal angle. The finale “Inside” is the one that stands out the most, a powerful sentiment of a piece that is brave and raw with the addition of piano and brings the album to a natural conclusion. Death Blooms are no longer a rising force. They’re no longer ones to watch. They’ve risen from the underground scene and with “Life Is Pain” have reached the point where they have achieved a dream. Time to crack America [8.5/10]

Track listing

  1. Shut Up
  2. In Your Head
  3. Caught In A Web
  4. Anger
  5. Sorrow
  6. Life Is Pain
  7. Waste
  8. One Release
  9. Choke
  10. Inside

Life Is Pain” by Death Blooms is out 22nd October 2021 via Adventure Cat Records

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