Bonded By Blood - Exiled to Earth
Earache Records
Thrash Metal
11 songs (42:14)
Release year: 2010
Earache Records
Reviewed by Bar
Archive review

Oh, my. It’s more than a little startling just how quickly and spectacularly Bonded by Blood lost their mojo. Their first album, Feed the Beast, was a downright ripper of a debut despite what my esteemed colleague Goat may have said in his review! It was crammed full of tight riffs, great solos, and exhibited manic energy from wall to wall to put the band on the map with one of the more promising debuts from last decade’s onslaught of "retro-thrash" revival acts. Fast forward a few years and it's now pretty clear that they failed to build on that good-will with either of their follow up albums. This, their second full-length released in 2010, is most politely described as a complete mess.

As we all know, Thrash Metal is all about the quality of the riffs. No matter how many flourishes and embellishments a band may attempt to incorporate, the riffs are what will always separate good Thrash from bad Thrash. This is especially true when dealing a retro-centric band like this, because it’s not like they’re doing anything fresh with the song structures. As you may have guessed, the boys from BBB seem to have forgotten to bring to the riffs along this time around. It’s really a shame because the album has a fun Sci-Fi concept and the manic energy that permeated through Feed the Beast is still very much present and accounted for. It’s the only thing that saves this album from being a total loss. There are several occasions on the album where the energy is palable and everything simply screams out to click together, but I felt like I was constantly rooting for it to finally click and it never quite happened. A few of the tracks have got one or two riffs that really nail it, and you think you’re about to start head banging, but it’s never maintained for the entirety of a song.

None of the band members give particularly excellent performances, so it seems a bit unfair to single anyone out but I want to mention the performance of Jose “Aladdin” Barrales. His vocal work on Feed the Beast was already very divisive, but I was quite a fan of what he achieved there. His delivery was unique and entertaining and helped give the band an edge to distinguish themselves from many other similar acts. Seemingly aware of this, on this follow up he pushes it a little too far. He’s trying so hard to focus on the unique aspects of his voice that he forgets to keep it appropriate for the songs. The result is, well, downright annoying. As much as I enjoyed him before, I can barely even get through this album without wishing he would tone it down a few notches.

If you really loved Feed the Beast then there might still be something for you to enjoy on this album because it does share that album’s energetic approach. I have heard that some fans rate it almost as highly, but personally I find that pretty difficult to understand. If you’re unsure you should probably try it for yourself, but don’t blame me if you find it languishing at the back of your shelf before too long.

Killing Songs :
Episodes of Aggression, Prison Planet
Bar quoted 59 / 100
Other albums by Bonded By Blood that we have reviewed:
Bonded By Blood - Feed The Beast reviewed by Goat and quoted 68 / 100
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