First Blood


Written by: MAK on 11/06/2017 12:59:20

On their first album in seven years, the metal-edged hardcore band First Blood has come out in full force for their third full-length record, “Rules” — the first release on their new label Pure Noise Records. The union with Pure Noise Records marks a new chapter for the band as they join the label’s eclectic roster, which already includes fellow hardcore acts like Terror and Knocked Loose, meaning that First Blood can now feel right at home. As the name of the album states, this album is about rules, with each track name featuring a relevant theme. Even looking at the artwork, there is a sense that stating rules can mean oppression and that First Blood is keen to be outspoken about the topic.

Musically nothing has changed for the Californian band, who continue to deliver a nice blend of fun two-step hardcore with the brutish attitude of beatdown, with “These Are the Rules” providing a prime example for this. All throughout the album, you can expect a simple formula of infectious grooves mixed with earth-shattering breakdowns, delivered with a hard-hitting attitude. Vocally, Carl Schwartz’s shouts are up-tempo — almost like aggressive raps at times — taking influence from the likes of Hatebreed’s Jamie Jasta or former Terror bandmate, Scott Vogel.

The tough attitude in the music matches the protesting vibes that First Blood holds close to heart. These are tracks perfectly designed for igniting violence and unleashing intense energy. “Fuck the Rules”, for example, opens the album with huge chants of “RULES!” before breaking into a wave of crunchy riffs and deep chugs. “Rules of Crisis” is perhaps the standout track as an epic closer to the album, with big, atmospheric guitar work and a much slower yet angrier and darker tone, and delivering huge gang shouts towards the end It’s an interesting mix of metallic and melodic hardcore.

The album lacks diversity, but it’s creative within the realms of the hardcore genre. “Rules of Government”, for one, is a pure headbanger; a bit slower and heavier than most of the tracks but a real bruiser all the same. “Rules of Freedom”, on the other hand, is up-tempo and chaotic after about 50 seconds in and if any track craves for a circle pit, it’s this one. “Rules” is thus a decent listen which does its job in causing carnage, but it’s hardly groundbreaking and does get somewhat repetitive. Still, it’s great to see that First Blood has not lost its edge after all these years.

Download: The Are the Rules, Rules of Freedom, Rules of Crisis
For the fans of: Hatebreed, Terror, Lionheart

Release date 10.02.2016
Pure Noise Records

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