Looking at the information surrounding Death Blooms before delving into their actual music makes them seem automatically less enticing. The fact that they share their name with a Mudvayne song is probably what fares for them the best, considering their genre tags of ‘alt-metal’, the enormously pejorative description for any number of murky, ever-so-slightly heavier hard rock bands, and ‘modern metal’, a term than, in many cases, involuntarily brings images of yet more cookie-cutter metalcore bands flooding through.
Thank God that Death Blooms are much better than any of that, then. Instead, the field of modern metal that they draw from is the one inhabited by bands like Beartooth and While She Sleeps, alongside touches of 2000s metalcore in the vein of Atreyu for a sound that isn’t exactly trailblazing, but it packs a considerable amount of power, particularly for a debut EP. There’s some serious weight to the guitar tone that really does catch you off guard, and Paul Barrow has the sort of harsh yet worn-in vocal style that complements the band wonderfully, even in his cleans which have a natural grit and meat that never make the transitions feel stunted.
In terms of songwriting, though, Death Blooms take a bit of a step down, though how much detail and quality can really be conveyed through four songs is up for debate. Still, they work for what they are – there’s metal’s typical embrace of darker themes and mindsets on Hate:Die and I’m Dead (which is, for the record, one of the best songs Beartooth never wrote, though Last Ones‘ ‘us against the world’ bent feels overdone and ultimately could’ve been left out.
But overall, Death Blooms’ debut EP does exactly what it needs to do – sketch out the founding logistics of their sound and serve as a prelude to what comes next. And in terms of exactly what that is, it’s an interesting thought, as for a brand of metal that’s as admittedly simple and no-frills as this, Death Blooms pull it off exceptionally well with an ideal style-to-substance ratio that works for them. If there’s one thing that could do with going over, it would be moving further away from such well-defined influences as they are now, but that’ll most certainly come with time. Right now, this is a band for whom their promise can’t be overstated.
For fans of: Beartooth, Cane Hill, Atreyu
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Death Blooms’ by Death Blooms is released on 12th May.