Album Review :
Bloodlined Calligraphy - Ypsilanti

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Band: Bloodlined Calligraphy
Title: Ypsilanti
Label: Facedown Records
Release Date: 9/19/06
Review By: Josh IndieVision

Tracklisting:

01. 5/14/06
02. Is You Asking? Or Is You Telling?
03. Take It Or Leave It
04. From Here On Out
05. It Can’t Rain All The Time
06. Ashes To Ashes
07. If Heaven Ain’t A Lot Like Ypsi, I Don’t Wanna Go
08. America’s Next Top Model
09. Frienemies
10. Last Goodbye
11. They Want You Silent

Members/Duties:

Eric Cargile: Bass, Guitar
Matt Carter: Drums, Vocals
Ally French: Vocals, Piano
Ryan Hampton: Guitar, Vocals

Ypsilanti? You might be asking yourself what that is or means. Well it’s simply the town which the band hail from and apparently are quite proud of. The band originally had a male vocalist for their first release on Selah Records in 2002. That was the first album that awakened my ears to the thrash influenced metal that Bloodlined Calligraphy brings to the table. Before moving to Strike First the band replaced the vocalist with Ally, which honestly was the smartest move of the band’s career. While I enjoyed their original I knew the vocals are what would hold them back. With that corrected the band was poised to take over the hardcore world.

I began the album with a surprised look I’m sure. A piano opener. I was hoping they hadn’t gone soft for BLC aren’t really known for beautiful music, full of melody. I do believe however that the song is dedicated a James Thomas Carter who passed away on 5/14/06, so I suppose it makes sense. The real sound comes out quickly in the first song, “Is You Asking…”. It blasts out of the gate and will most certainly leave you breathless. The circle pits should be taking over each and every crowd they face with this one. “Take It Or Leave It” is a lively romp fully of energy and passion. My first complaint is the singing in “It Can’t Rain All The Time”. It’s not bad or anything, it just seems out of place from the sheer brutality of the rest of the album.

The initial riffing in “If Heaven…” is more melodic than the majority of the album. They could definitely do a bit more in that direction to bring some variation to the constant pummeling. I’m not complaining but if they want to branch out they should do it that way. The tone sounds like that of a Slipknot album. They’re quite talented guitarists and should do more soloing and fingerwork. “America’s Next Top Model” joins the rank of many of the trendy-sounding metalcore outfits of today.

Standout Tracks:“If Heaven Ain’t A Lot Like Ypsi, I Don’t Wanna Go”, “America’s Next Top Model”,

Overall Rating: Thrash-tastic!!! BLC brings it louder, faster, and far more agressively on this release. Pulverizing breakdowns, which BLC have always been good at producing, are in no short supply. The band does not waste any bit of the short time used for each song. They are packed full and tight, with brutal chugging guitars and crushing drums. Brutal and unrelenting, this music will leave your room (or whever you’re listening) looking like the last page of the booklet (a destroyed building). I only had a couple of thing that I feel hurt the album. One is that many of the songs do sound repetitive and bring the same feel. The second is the addition of melodic singing.. They really should steer clear of that. We have enough of the scream/sing/scream bands now.

Individual Ratings:

Album Art/Design: The design reminds me somewhat of that movie for “Sin City”. Quiggle mixes real life with comic book like smoke and other pictures.

Lyrics: Topical: living without regret (“Take It Or Leave It”), loss of a family member (“From Here On Out”), problems with friends (“Frienemies”). [All Lyrics Included]

Marketability: Obviously, having one of the few girl vocalists in the hardcore/metalcore realm certainly gives them an added marketing option. People will be more likely to take notice, which has been the case. However, regardless of that fact, the band’s music speaks for itself and would stand alone regardless of who was in the group.

Production: The sound is tight. Guitar tones are distorted and powerful. Drums sound great! Nothing really to complain about.

Vocals: Ally’s vocals are deeper and more agressive. She seems to be much more comfortable behind the mic and is really beginning to shine. Any notion that women cannot bring hardcore vocals as tough as the guys, will be blown away upon listening to Ypsilanti.

Similar To: Walls Of Jericho, Figure Four, Alove For Enemies
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