Bloodclot- Souls Review

With two previous releases under their belts and the first release since Metal Blade
sophomore LP Up In Arms back in 2017, NYC crossover supergroup Bloodclot have just
released their finest record yet with Souls— now available via Upstate Records!

The fresh new lineup of Bloodclot has undoubtedly contributed to this being their
strongest record yet— with legendary hardcore frontman John “Bloodclot” McGowan (formerly
of the Cro-Mags) being the only constant in the band — the lineup supporting him this time
around has transitioned from guitarist Todd Youth (who previously also performed with Agnostic
Front, Motorhead, & Danzig— just to name a few!) to now Tom Capone (previously of
Quicksand). Additionally, the group is now backed by rhythm section Craig Setari (Sick Of It All)
on bass & Darren Morgenthaler (also of NYC hardcore heavyweights Madball) on drums as
opposed to the most former lineup found on their Metal Blade effort with Nick Oliveri (Queens of
the Stone Age) & Joey Castillo (also Queens of the Stone Age & Danzig). Nevertheless, the
bands history is never short of an interesting cast of characters behind the scenes, and that
proves true yet again on Souls!

Whereas their previous effort Up In Arms began with the pendulum somewhat swaying
more toward straightforward punk tendencies (and perhaps arguably overall) in its title track—
the very first song on this record (coincidentally also the title track of this album), “Souls” sets an
exciting & more metallic-leaning tone for the majority of what is to follow. The opening track
contains elements that give some serious deja vu of Slayer in their prime, particularly in its
pacing with the way it blasts off into a circle pit fury on the verses; followed by screeching dive-
bomb guitars backed by a crushing beat that transition so effortlessly into the whipping groove
of the choruses. At the core of the title track & controlling all of the chaos, is a crunchy
breakdown so powerful it that perfectly encapsulates the New York approach to hardcore; and
the ripping solo that aforementioned axeman Tom Capone delivers so flawlessly is enough to
make the late Jeff Hanneman shed heavy metal tears of a proud poppa! If there were a runner
up for best-way-to-start-an-record, this is it! This song is so well structured it ought to be a god
damn instruction manual of required reading for all crossover acts to follow! Just one foot into the doorway of Souls and one can’t help but instantly notice a massive
difference & incredible leap forward in the production by Laz Pina (of Ill Niño fame) & the
impressive mix treatment by Chris Collier (who has also worked with bands like Korn, Prong, &
Whitesnake) — their assistance in illustrating the band putting their best foot forward is evident
in making the best sounding Bloodclot record to date!

Switching gears, second track in “Unhinged” is all pure punk adrenalin and not dissimilar
to that of the early years of their punk forefathers in Bad Brains (who they even cover later on
with the closing track being, “How Low Can A Punk Get?”)— and this just might be the tune that
would perhaps remind fans the most of their previous record; however, the eeriness of the
melodic guitar line halfway through it lends room for even those familiar with their music to be
surprised. Returning to the thrash metal aspects of the band, “War Castles” brings pummeling
guitar riffage that chugs more than a frat boy at a keg party— leaving plenty of room for both
fans of new school thrash like Municipal Waste or even lovers of old school thrash among the
lines of Vio-Lence to enjoy. McGownan’s vocal attack on the verses of this track keeps the
composure close to classic NYC hardcore acts— in particular, Madball comes to mind (and
perhaps even a slight trace of 25 ta Life) with it’s almost hip-hop-like delivery.

Halfway in, it seems the band might have planned on saving perhaps the catchiest track
as a reward for the listener planted here— with the full-speed-ahead delivery of “Save the
Robots” while also sprinkling in the the surprising twist of the contrasting vocal mood over top of
the breakdown section; leaving the song ripe to exit on Capone’s guitar lead work again before
returning to the blistering chorus and swapping up the beat on its way out. The band geared up
fans to be primed for the calm vocal on the hook of “Infectious” with the tease of this in the
previous track and this made for a most unexpected change of pace on Souls— as it
showcases the bands ability to write in a variety of styles should they choose to do so; though
normally opting for the faster and more energetic approach showcased on the rest of this
release.

While not the last track on Souls, it is the last original and with “Relentless” the band
seems to have channeled their inner Lemmy Kilmister— as every aspect of the song from the
galloping snare hits of Morgenthaler behind the kit to the bluesy guitar assault of Capone seems
to indicate the Motörhead influence is apparent here. An interesting (and arguably perhaps quite
logical way) to wrap up the record, the seventh and final track shows them paying tribute to Bad
Brains— giving a nod to their undeniable influence in impacting Bloodcot’s decision to continue
carrying the torch of heavy music with their no nonsense cover of “How Low Can A Punk Get”.

Bloodcot may have only just released this record at the tail end of this year, but Souls
could easily sit at the top any best-of-2022 list without having to put up a fight as a contender for
the spot.*Be sure to pick up your copy from Upstate Records here:
https://www.upstaterecordsny.com/bloodclot Overal Score 9.5/10Review By: Miles Hoyle

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