Bloodyard – Darker Rage EP

Bloodyard
Darker Rage
Black metal / groove metal
Release date: 27th June 2015
Self-release

Bloodyard are a death/groove metal band based in the North-West of England. The band consists of Donna Hurd on vocals, Nick Adamson on guitar, Dave Cowley on bass and Matty Lee on drums.  After the release of the their 2013 EP, Set To Fall they found reasonable success across the UK. Now, with their follow up EP “Darker Rage” they look to continue in their future and further their potential.  Their sound is this cool combination of groove tones, thrash rhythms and black metal style vocals.  It make for very interesting concoction. I find myself weirdly compelled by the stylistic choices of this EP. They have some great riffs and interesting ideas for songs. I’ve heard comparisons to Arch Enemy and I think that fits well enough.

The EP opens with “Epitaph” which has this really well worked riff and the whole song fits around it.  Along with a good bass groove, this song is fun and drives you to keep listening.  The vocals are well projected and powerful. I can’t say the drum work is spectacular but it does its job. This song, however, would be nothing without that excellent groove. Up next is “Sacred To None”.  Once again a solid riff and great groove.  This one clearly takes some influence from thrash metal.  The drums are well worked and frame the song nicely, and the vocals are still pretty good.  It’s around here, though, that I noticed a problem with this EP: the songs go by too quick.  Maybe that’s just me but just as I’m getting into the song, it ends.  Just as it gets interesting, I’m cut off and left wanting a little more.

Next up we have the title track “Darker Rage” This is just awesome.  Really enjoy this track.  The riff is solid and the whole song just feels rounded. One of those tracks that make you wanna just get up and headbang.  Throughout the EP, the writing is just consistent, everything is solid and it shows as the riffs and grooves are very enjoyable. The solos aren’t anything too special, but they serve the purpose fine, I have nothing against it.  Finally the last track is “Dead Relics” and it’s more of the same.  I don’t think I can add much else talking in a track-by-track sense.

So yeah, this is a pretty decent EP.  Yet, it does have its problems. The first thing you’ll probably notice is the production quality. It’s not great, everything sounds muffled and if it is mixed you couldn’t tell.  I get that not everyone has a big production budget, but yet, I’ve heard self-releases that sounds bloody amazing. So I don’t quite understand that.  Also every song on the EP follows pretty much the same structure.  Slow intro, speed into the song, have a solo, close out the song.  There’s just barely enough tweaks to make each track sound like a different song. Which to me is a little lazy and makes everything sound samey.  With an EP you should try to show off variety, I get the feeling this is a one trick pony.

To summerise, is this good? Well, yes and no.  If you’ve spent a lot of time around under the radar metal bands and you particularly like the sound of cheaper production on a metal record, then I say go get this.  That’s not to say there isn’t anything there, there’s so much potential in this band and I genuinely like the grooves and riff.  Those were the fun moments of the EP.  However, I know not everyone gets excited by a decently composed riff.  I like this EP, I think the band has a long way to go but I also think they have enough to get there.  They just need to be a bit more creative and think of a new structure for the songs.

2,5/5

Mick Birchall

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