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Dangerously Close

Doolittle Group (2013)
Rating: 8/10

Has it really been 22 years since Christian rockers Bloodgood graced our ears?

I’ve always found the “Christian metal” tag irrelevant because so many good 80s bands were mocked for their anti-satanic beliefs, which was kind of daft considering most of the bands who were “pro” Satan were just as cheesy. Even so, the likes of Stryper, and to a lesser extent Bloodgood, were never taken seriously despite releasing some excellent metal albums.

These Seattle rockers began life in 1984 but after five studio outings, a decade later they succumbed, rather ironically, to the Seattle grunge scene and split. Their return however is most certainly a welcome one, with original members Michael Bloodgood (bass) and Les Carlsen (vocals) back for another shot, this time accompanied by guitarists Paul Jackson and Stryper’s Oz Fox, as well as drummer Kevin Whisler.

The first noise from the band in regards to their reformation was the stirring ‘Lamb Of God’ track, the opening cut off this 13-track affair. At first listen, one can’t help but notice the crunching guitars and weighty menace, especially in Carlsen’s convincing vocal which shifts in tone to lead us to the melodic, soaring chorus.

The stirring harmony continues with the infectious ‘Bread Alone’ with its grittier vocal and those rattling drums. Little seems to have changed since the fiery days of their 1986 self-titled debut opus and the rollicking Detonation in 1987, and while modern technology has enabled the band to make various tweaks, the likes of ‘Pray’ still hit the right spot, so that old and new fans should find much to savour here.

Bloodgood are a classic metal band, and no longer adhere to the restrictive tags of yesteryear which would have hindered their progress, and any real metal fan who lends an ear to the likes of ‘In The Trenches’, with its doomy trudge and choppy raps, must surely marvel that this great beast has awoken from its slumber.

With so many old school metal bands reforming, but destined to fail in their quest for nostalgia, Bloodgood have simply continued from where they left off, and this revival is topped off by the fantastically wistful ballad ‘Father Father’ with its fluent guitar whine and those simple yet effective drums. It’s on this track where Les Carlsen shines through, and while that voice has obviously matured with the occasional crack, this brooding, swaying number becomes all the more classy for it. And when one considers that this track is accompanied by the likes of ‘I Will’, ‘I Can Hold On’ and the accessible ‘Man In The Middle’, one only hopes that Dangerously Close is not a farewell to fans.

Neil Arnold

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