Words About Music
Doomriders “Grand Blood”
Few producers are as sought out in the world of loud rock as Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou. Kurt has produced albums by modern hardcore’s leading groups, including Kvelertak, Modern Life Is War, Nails, Code Orange Kids, Gaza, High on Fire, Black Breath, KEN Mode, Torche, and many more. It only makes sense that he’d produce the third record from Converge bandmate Nate Newton’s band Doomriders. In fact, Ballou has recorded all their records in his Godcity Studios and they’ve all been released on his Deathwish Inc. label. Doomriders combine stoner rock, death metal, hardcore punk, and doom metal in a cool combination that sticks out for the most part in what has become a resurgence of great hard rock groups.
While Nate Newton is the bassist of Converge, he takes the spotlight with Doomriders as the guitarist and vocalist. He leads these heavy groovy tracks and lays down quite the thunder. “Grand Blood” is a more-than-decent heavy metal record that goes back and forth between so many different genres that it’s really hard to classify. It’s not quite as fast-paced or noisy as a Converge record, but it’s not as slow-paced as a traditional doom metal record. “Grand Blood” is hardcore, definitely, but Doomriders never really try to hit record speed, which is okay.
While “Grand Blood” starts out on a high note with some excellently executed punk stylings, it eventually tends to taper over. Nate’s voice almost seems to tire out as the album goes from a punk ethos to a more hard rock vibe, and it’s not executed in the most enjoyable of ways. As the songs get longer, my interest seems to fade. The hardcore renaissance of the 21st century has produced some amazing albums and bands, but I’m not quite sure if “Grand Blood” is one of them. My lack of experience with this particular band could be a factor, though. I’d actually never even heard Doomriders until this album came out. Doomriders is not the worst metal band I’ve heard in my life, but considering the other bands on the Deathwish label—including the always phenomenal Touché Amoré—this is an album I’ll likely forget about in a few months’ time.
“Grand Blood” isn’t exactly a disappointment. My expectations weren’t extremely high at all and it’s definitely a mostly enjoyable record, but it’s not the most memorable record to come out this year. I would like to praise the musicianship of this band, though. Nate can certainly hold his own vocally in a world where we’re hearing some of hardcore’s best singers. Nate doesn’t really try to scream in a way that most hardcore vocalists do, he screams in almost a traditional punk way that is definitely noteworthy. “Grand Blood” isn’t totally complex, but it is something I’d recommend to hardcore purists, and I’m sure Doomriders are great live.
SCORE – 7.1
FAVORITE TRACKS – New Pyramids, Mankind, Dead Friends, Bad Vibes, Death In Heat, Back Taxes
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