Artist Of The Week - Anchor & Braille

It's been about three years since we've gotten an album from Anchor & Braille, the indie side project of Anberlin's Stephen Christian, but this week, on July 31st, the band's sophomore album will be released. The Quiet Life is a collection of haunting melodies and catchy percussion, certainly a maturation of sound since 2009's Felt. The Quiet Life is available now in stores and online through Tooth & Nail Records.


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Artist: Bloodsport
Album: Blackest Darkness
Release Date: July 6, 2012
Label: Deadboy Records

Formed in 2005 in Adelaide, South Australia, Bloodsport has been making a name for themselves in the Aussie hardcore scene. Now with the wonders of digital music retailers like iTunes it appears the band is ready to make their big debut in the United States. Blackest Darkness, the bands second album and first on Deadboy Records is 18 minutes of brutally heavy hardcore music to it's core.

The band has drawn comparisons to Madball and Hatebreed amongst others when it comes to their sound. I can completely agree with that. The music is brutal, heavy, and fast. The drumming is subdued to an extent by the overpowering furiosity of the guitar, which is the case for most of the bands in this genre. However, when you do hear the drumming featured it is so tight, fast, and insane that you 
understand why the rest of the band steps it up to keep up with the drummer. The guitar work is good to very good. Nothing really stands out and grabs your attention to let you know this is Bloodsport and can't possibly be any other band. To further draw on the similarities between Bloodsport and the aforementioned Hatebreed a lot of the songs on Blackest Darkness sound similar, as do most of the Hatebreed songs. This isn't entirely bad or unexpected. In all honesty there is only so much you can do in this style of hardcore/metal, what the band does do is make eleven very tight, very brutal, very heavy, and very good songs. If you like the sound of the hardcore bands like Madball, Hatebreed, and Death Before Dishonor then you will love the sound of Blackest Darkness by Bloodsport.

"I deserve to burn in hell, but you snatched me from the flame/I willingly betrayed the father, but at the Cross you took the blame/I was running to my death, but you pulled me from the grave/A perfect sacrifice, had to die so I could be saved." those words are probably the most powerful lyrics i have ever heard without the song being a full-fledged worship song you'd hear in church. Too many times we become complacent or "ok" with our sins and we deserve to burn for them, but Jesus didn't die for that. He died to save us and the song "Bloodshed" where the lyrics come from drives that message home without any smoke and mirrors, just the honest to God truth of the matter. "I', being crucified/I'm guilty there's nothing I can't hide/Who is this by my side?/Through this man I an justified/Remember me when you get your Kingdom/I tell you the truth, tomorrow you'll be with me in Paradise." These words speak to the fact that we can hide nothing from God, he sees our every move, our every sin and he will hold us accountable. However, if you live a life through him you will be justified and rewarded by being at his side in Heaven. The lyrics are the one area where Blackest Darkness exceeds almost every album in it's genre as well as many others. There is never a lack of passion, meaning, or truth to the words of each and every song. Vocally, the band sounds a lot like Hatebreed and those types of screamers, which is great. The screams are very strong, and better yet the lead singer enunciates so you can actually understand the words he's saying.

Overall: Blackest Darkness is a very good hardcore album. I think given the right promotion the band and this album could do very well here in the states. The band has the sound and the vocals to match up with some of our better known hardcore/metal bands and has lyrics that blow them out of the water. Will this album be remembered for it's musical genius or vocal uniqueness? Probably not. Could this album be remembered for it's awe-inspiring, spine-tingling lyrics? Absolutely. Bloodshed have a very good, and well polished sound, but I think if they push the envelope of the genre just a bit they'd have a unique sound that would make them stand out in this genre. Blackest Darkness may not make many top ten lists this year, but it is an album that should be checked by any fans of Hatebreed, Madball, Death Before Dishonor, and Terror as well as fans of hardcore and metal in general. The album doesn't disappoint except in length.

Rating: 7.5/10

1.Bring on the Persecution
2. Fear Me
3. Warcry
4. Carnage
5. Criminal
6. Kill Thyself
7. Stillborn
8. Blackest Darkness
9. Bloodshed
10. Annihilate
11. Still Here

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