The amazing thing about “Martha” from Bloodshed’s 1995 self-titled EP isn’t just how complex it is. Yes, it hits that sweet spot, distinctive of top-notch emo-core where the perfect balance of harsh and soft, noisy and melodic come together. It’s also not how mature the lyrics are. They’re inspired by a poem written by a young girl (the song’s namesake) during World War 2. It’s also not how proficient on the instruments the members were. The track features complex, angular riffing that wasn’t all that common in mid-90s hardcore, a mixture of clean singing and hardcore screaming. While those elements are commonplace in today’s metalcore, at the time it was groundbreaking.
What’s amazing about this song, the entire EP, and the band itself was that they managed to accomplish all of this when the band members were in their teens. As I understand it, at the time of recording, none of the members had finished high school. 26 years later I’m still completely baffled at how these guys managed to create such mature and complex music at their age.
Many readers will be aware that members of Bloodshed also turned up in a lengthy list of other bands including (but not limited to) Rainy Days, Stairwell, Slingshot David, The Supertones, Rock Kills Kid, and many, many more.