When Death Blooms released their self-titled EP last year, few could’ve predicted where they’ve would’ve ended up just more than a year later. They’re hardly a household name or anything, but the touch-and-go nature of success within modern metal coupled with just how new they really are (and the fact they’re named after a bloody Mudvayne song) predicted a band that might gain some sort of underground following, but maybe not much else. But here they are, embracing the nu-metal roots that got them here by sharing stages with everyone from King 810 and Korn’s Jonathan Davis to *ahem* Insane Clown Posse, and capitalising on that momentum with this brand new EP. And there’s no reason they shouldn’t be either; they’ve got a good amount of promise within nu-metalcore, and a good showing here combined with the headway they’ve already built should be enough to take them even further.
As far as You Are Filth is concerned though, this feels more like an exercise in Death Blooms sticking to what they know and tightening it up rather than moving forward by any meaningful amount. That in itself isn’t a bad thing, and indeed, there four tracks adopt the exact sturdy approach to nu-metalcore that undoubtedly slot this band into the scene without fail, but it’s not the move that would’ve been as beneficial as forging ahead on their own creative path, and that can lead to an EP that, while sonically fine, can lack some of the personality that a new band like this will need to get further.
It’s not like this is a tremendously crippling problem or anything, but it holds back a release that clearly has a lot more to offer when it comes to this sound than might be let on. Instrumentally their are no complaints to be had, with grinding guitars, meaty, clattering drums and a consistently steamrolling sense of groove form a basis that’s pretty much as strong as it’s ever been, both for this band and this genre as a whole. It’s the sort of instance where Death Blooms really shine here; sonically, they’ve pretty much got as much going for them as is possible to have, at least from the perspective of where this genre is now, and condensing that down to ferocious blasts like on Crosses or Filth keeps things moving at a brisk pace without feeling throwaway. It helps that Paul Barrow has such a commanding presence behind the microphone, bringing a rage to his vocals without ever dropping into tones that are too clean when an anthemic chorus demands for it. It’s a tight-knit operation overall, and one that Death Blooms seem to have a good handle of already.
But look over to the best bands that this scene has, and more often than not that’s the absolute baseline of their sound, whereas for Death Blooms, it’s effectively the whole thing. As far as the rudimentary essentials go, You Are Filth sees a band with a deft command of everything they need, but they don’t really move beyond that, and that can leave this feeling lacking in some crucial areas. For one, the lyrics are absolutely nothing to write home about with the same dark, self-immolating semantics that have become entirely too commonplace in both nu-metal and metalcore, but pair that with a presentation that struggles to foster much of an individual personality, and Death Blooms don’t go the distances that are really needed of them. On the whole, this is a body of work that can feel unfortunately routine, and that greatly caps the enjoyment that can be gleaned from it.
That’s not to say this isn’t enjoyable at all; in the vein of pretty much all nu-metal, the bracing energy and blunt catharsis is enough to carry Death Blooms over the finish line when they need it. But right now, they’re not exactly moving beyond it, and for a scene like theirs that relies on something new to thrive more now than ever, it can be difficult to fully endorse an EP like You Are Filth when it’s not doing that. General solidness can’t be avoided, particularly as far as crafting a stable foundation goes, but there’s more needed to succeed than that, and it’s something that Death Blooms will have to find sooner rather than later.
For fans of: Cane Hill, Of Mice & Men, Slipknot
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘You Are Filth’ by Death Blooms is released on 26th April.