Label: Blood and Ink
Release Date: July 9th, 2011
Reviewer: David M
- Job’s Lament (pt. 1)
- Already Dead (pt. 2)
- Through Death (pt. 3)
- Bare Heights
- Last of All
- Blue Bell
- (Psalm 142)
- Witness (acoustic)
Whether it’s an album review or an English assignment, I’ve always been told that the introduction and the conclusion are two of the most important parts of your writing, and it’s because you pretty much try to sell your thoughts and ideas at the beginning, and then solidify your point afterwards. Some people like to tell jokes. Other use analogies. This time around, I’m going to do neither and just lay it out: Bloodseeds is an album you need to buy immediately. And before you think I’m going soft like a lot of reviews on this site, it’s not my fault I’ve had the privilege of reviewing Carrying the Fire’s new release and My Epic’s “Broken Voice” back to back. Those albums were phenomenal. I’m not reviewing this high because I don’t know how to score low; talk to These Hearts. It’s merely because with Bloodseeds, you get an album that is not only musically appealing, but relevant and nostalgic at the same time.
Before we get too far, if you’re a fan of modern-day hardcore and haven’t given Strongarm or Shai Hulud a listen, you should probably do that before you even listen to this album, because Bloodseeds is a perfect case of “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Everything you hear could be mistaken for either band by the untrained ear, but that’s not a bad thing by any means. It’s not as if Debtor is ripping either band off; it’s just they have truly written a great melodic-hardcore album that honestly would’ve blown up 14 years ago. There was something about that era of music that brought out the best in hardcore musicians, and something that I’ve genuinely missed, up until now.
With Bloodseeds, you find youself immersed in the dark, yet hopeful, world of vocalist Alan Popoli; one that screams of deliverance, and is answered by the call of the Lord. The first song, “Job’s Lament” has lyrics that I think anyone can relate to (“I loathe this life, loathe these months of emptiness and misery. Spirit is broken, days extinct; why did I not die at my birth?”), and is followed by the subsequent parts that both echo similar feelings, but with more hope (“You’re the only hope I’ve ever known, I’m here waiting for your fire to fall” and “Seeing nothing all around, I turn my eyes to heaven. Searched this earth for a shred of light, I turn my eyes to heaven. I’ll follow you through death itself.”). The beauty of the lyrics found on Bloodseeds are that they’re genuine and real without remaining on the despair and depravity we find in ourselves. What I mean by this is unless you consistently lie to yourself, this world sucks, and apart from the love and peace we find in the Lord, it’s easy to get discouraged and depressed. It happens to the best of us. Death is one of the greatest causes of said sadness. However, it doesn’t mean we have to wallow in self-pity and regret all of the time, and that’s why I thoroughly enjoy the lyrics I found on this album: they’re real enough to relate to, but there is hope and encouragement throughout it all, and that’s through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Musically, if you’re familiar with the genre, you won’t find anything that will necessarily suprise you, but it’s not that they’re not doing their own thing. Sometimes bands get so caught up in reinventing the wheel that they produce an album that is less than admirable, so I have to give Debtor credit for knowing where their strengths are, and utilizing them well. For example, “Bare Heights” is a non-stop barrage of emotion and fury that is truly completed by beautiful melodies and well-executed drumming. The lead guitar part that starts around the 1:22 mark is simplistic, yet compliments the mood and feel of the song incredibly well. Track 7, “Believe” has one of the most memorable basslines that I have heard in recent memory, and it definitely takes you back to the 90s/early 2000s (not a bad thing by any means). “(Psalm 142)”, while stripped down compared to the other songs, is tastefully placed and helps keep the variety in Bloodseeds. And lastly, since I know I haven’t touched on the actual vocals yet, let me just say this: being a vocalist, I’m very picky, but Popoli has a very strong and unique voice that compliments the music incredibly. Never once was there a part where I felt the vocals were weak or out of place, and there is enough variety in his range to keep the music from being boring.
Overall: Argue with me all you want, but I feel like this will be an album I will be listening to continually for the rest of this year, and well into the next. I went into this trying not to give it a ten, because of how highly-rated our albums are here, but I couldn’t, because it truly is an AOTY-candidate for me. Also, due to a change that I completely agree with, you’ll most likely see more fairly-rated reviews and more balanced scoring.
That being said, this album is one of the best I’ve heard all year, and it’ll definitely be in my running for top ten albums for 2011. Debtor has released a monster with Bloodseeds and I am excited to see where their next release will take them. It’s a shame they aren’t touring more, or getting the exposure other bands are getting, but I feel like they are exactly where God needs them to be. Sometimes we equate monetary and publicity success with the will of God, but if that’s the case, then it could be argued Jesus wasn’t successful when He was on the Earth. Obviously, that’s false, but the point remains: there are plenty of underground bands that are worth listening to, and if you pass up Bloodseeds, you’re definitely missing out.