Bonded by Blood: Exiled to Earth

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Bonded by Blood: Exiled to Earth
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Bonded by Blood: Exiled to Earth
Thrash Metal
Earache Records
August 10th, 2010
Release length: 42:13
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Bonded by Blood return with the follow up to their well accepted debut full-length effort Feed to Beast. Exiled to Earth, however, isn’t quite the album that you would expect with the band name they chose that should reflect the musical roots of the band. Instead, we are given a rather generic album with some repetition, lack of serious passion and anger that is typical for Thrash albums and makes it that much more special a style, and guitar solos that wind up proving to be just too good for this band.

Much like the band’s debut, Bonded by Blood continue to play what is considered music that is part of the sudden Thrash revival that broke out, and it’s very well done at that. Many of the songs on here are very catchy and take great influence from many earlier acts that greatly influenced the style, moreso along the lines of bands like Testament then the band they got their name from, Exodus. One listen to songs like “Prototype: Death Machine” will show you the band’s dedication to trying to recapture the spirit of the earlier days of the style, and they do it well, but bring in a more modern lyrical approach like many of today’s newer Trash acts by focusing on war, but in a more modern science and science fiction sense. This, sadly, causes the album to lack a bit of the bite that many bands in the style are typically known for.

Exiled to Earth actually comes off as a bit of a toned down effort then anything. While there’s no denying that the music on this release is great and highly enjoyable, it just seems to lack any real passion behind it, especially with the vocals. While the vocal performance on this album is very suiting, the lyrical nature of the album sounds awkward against the polished guitar work, leaving a good amount to be desired. “Genetic Encryption” is one of the songs off here that has potential to be a good track, but in the end comes off rather bland compared to the album’s opening set. The song feels like it’s just lacking energy, and the vocal performance just seems a bit generic and doesn’t quite work with the music being played, like they, too, are missing the energy, even the anger that many expect from this style. Sadly, the vocals on many of these songs wind up sounding that way, but there’s still some tracks here that really seem to have a better vocal performance, such as the title track “Exiled to Earth” which clearly showcases a more enthusiastic performance, as if the vocalist was genuinely excited to record this song compared to “Episodes of Aggression” and “Genetic Encryption”.

Another aspect that really seems a little off with Exiled to Earth lies within the guitar solos. The solos here are simply amazing, and in many cases work very well with the music, such as during “Blood Spilled Offerings” and “Desolate Future”. However, there are times where the solos just seem to be too good for the song. Again, take “Genetic Encryption” as an example, though it’s not the only one to suffer from this. While the song has a steady structed pace from the start, to accompany the fantastic solo, the music picks up greatly and has that bite, the rage fueled frothing Thrash goodness that makes this style so unique, playing just to accompany that specific talented solo. It’s moments like these that will frustrate you since they feel so out of place, and also showcase that the band does have that energy behind them to really create something that truly encompasses what the Thrash sound genuinely is and ultimtely winds up lacking thanks to the band writing music that generally jumps around in a repetitive fashion between mid-tempo as the foundation, to slow or fast paced verses and bridges.

While Exiled to Earth is not one of the worst albums to come out of the recent Thrash revival, it’s definitely far from one of the best. There’s no denying that the band has some great ideas in the mix with their music, and there are some good tracks on here mixed with the band’s highly entertaining start and end to the album. However, there’s just too many songs that feel like filler and ultimately give the listener a mixed bag of emotions to agonize over when it comes to Bonded by Blood. If you enjoyed their previous effort, then you may enjoy this release as well, but ultimately this release needs some more bite to it, and if they expand off the sudden change of pace that accompanies some of the solos here and build songs off that intensity, then we’ll have a very impressive Thrash act on our hands.

01. 600 A.B. (After the Bomb) – 5:02
02. Episodes of Aggression – 3:39
03. Prototype: Death Machine – 5:55
04. Prison Planet – 3:09
05. Genetic Encryption – 3:43
06. Blood Spilled offerings – 3:07
07. Exiled to Earth – 3:08
08. Parasitic Infection – 0:53
09. Desolate Future – 4:43
10. Sector 87 – 3:20
11. Cross-Insemination – 5:35
Overall Score: 6/10
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Physical review copy of this release provided by personal funds.