Written by: Blackie Skulless
Man do I love situations where a band doesn’t impress me at first, and then completely changes my perspective after another helping. Salt Lake City’s heavy metal quartet Blood Star didn’t offer a lot in the beginning. They only put out a few singles for a few years, but on this, the Year of our Lord 2023, they’ve come forth with a full-length, fully selling me. Unlike a few other traditional outfits that have sung me away this year, the band’s debut First Sighting is completely to the point, causing a love at first sighting…er, love at first sight; or sound, rather. What I’m saying is that this is very accessible!
Playing it safe, Blood Star is very true to the classic roots of heavy riffing. The band holds loads of melody with anthemic choruses and a decent variance of tempo. Their vocalist boasts a powerful front, honing in on a clean approach that has loads of oomph, thus pairing nicely with tunes on the faster side. Not only is this very evident on “No One Wins,” but the short bass solo tacked onto the end of the lead’s bright presence is pristine! As a matter of fact, “bright” is a pretty good word to describe all of this, considering how nicely every instrument comes through. Even the speed metal backbone of album closer “Wait To Die” couldn’t even escape this, so you know consistency is not an issue.
On the other hand, First Sighting blends this with a decent array of emotions. “The Observers” is a strong tune that cakes on beautiful harmonies without stepping a lick out of place. You can also find this approach in the likes of “Going Home,” the record’s longest song that yields the best results in terms of complexity (something this album doesn’t use/need a lot of), and layer placement. Yet, the gallops of “Cold Moon” with its thumping rhythms and operatic chorus scratch that itch more effectively, in my personal opinion.
Not a single drop of this record is going to strike anybody as something we haven’t heard before, but I’ll be damned if the band didn’t absolutely perfect the straightforward traditional metal approach with no bells and whistles. No harsh production, no occult themes, no keyboards or outsider influences, no epic construction. Just thirty-two minutes of familiarity and comfort that feels unique in its own right just for how fresh it all sounds. I almost wish there was more to say about it, but it needs nothing more; easily a high recommendation.
Blood Star - First Sighting was released April 21st, 2023 via Shadow Kingdom Records. Find it here!
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that wakes us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry.