Wow, since when did Beartooth change their name? In all seriousness though, Beartooth and Blood Youth are two completely independent bands, but they share a lot of similarities. As well as both tapping into a similar vein of melodic, hook-heavy hardcore, both have gone through their fair share of adversity. Though nowhere near as life-changing as those that inspired Caleb Shomo to pen Beartooth’s output, the past few years have seen Blood Youth lose two members to pop-punk powerhouse Neck Deep, as well as go through a moniker change after previous outfit Climates was met with pretty much unanimous disinterest. And also like Beartooth, Blood Youth have weathered all that and come out swinging on their sophomore EP Closure.

While opener Breathe‘s broad, orchestral strokes form a false sense of security if ever there was one, the trio of tracks that follow are much more brusque and direct, aiming straight for the jugular and refusing to let go. And while the Beartooth comparisons are definitely there, Blood Youth aren’t limited by them. The closing title track has more than a shade of A Day To Remember about it thanks to Kaya Tarsus’s uncannily Jeremy McKinnon-esque clean vocals, while there’s a driving punk edge to Mood Swing. ‘Diversity’ may not be the most natural of descriptions for this EP, but it definitely sees Blood Youth avoiding a status as ‘just another hardcore band’ by having a bit more malleability than average.

Regardless of genre though, it can’t be ignored that, on the evidence presented here, Blood Youth have got some real songwriting nouse. Breathe aside, Closure stands up on its own merit as top-drawer mosh fodder, abundant in hooks as well as heft. 24/7 draws yet more comparisons to Beartooth with its circular earworm of a chorus, while Closure‘s soaring clean chorus marks it out as a potential festival anthem for this summer. It’s all impressive stuff and spectacularly executed – it’s all very lean and punchy, never unnecessarily messing around when it doesn’t have to.

It’s such a focus that makes Blood Youth such an exciting prospect. The aforementioned similarities to Beartooth may be a bit too numerous and upfront for some, but that only really adds to the fire – they’re the first band to capture the same gut-wrenching power and emotion to such a degree, and while it hasn’t necessarily been repurposed here, it’s emulated to a ridiculously strong degree. This won’t be the last you hear of Blood Youth – 2016 could well be theirs for the taking.

8/10

For fans of: Beartooth, A Day To Remember, Every Time I Die
Words by Luke Nuttall

‘Closure’ by Blood Youth is released on 11th March on Rude Records.

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