BY MICHAEL TOLAND
An ‘80s-era hardcore band from Santa Cruz, Bl’ast! hasn’t existed since its 1989 swan song Take That Manic Ride. But a recent spelunking expedition uncovered the masters for an entire unreleased album, featuring the short-lived five-piece lineup that included future Alice in Chains guitarist/vocalist William DuVall. Given a spit-and-polish onceover by Dave Grohl (a major Bl’ast fan, apparently), the tapes now make their popular debut as Blood!
This being SST-era punk, Blood! doesn’t bother with blink-and-you’ll-miss-it thrash, nor is it anything even close to today’s screaming, Brontosaurus-heavy version of hardcore. Instead the Bl’asters explode with midtempo energy, with the focus on both off-center guitar riffs that owe as much to postpunk as to Black Flag, and Cliff Dinsmore’s gruff exhortations of frustration and cynicism. Brief as it is, the less-than-two-minutes long “Your Eyes” adds a healthy dollop of early 70s metal to its broadsword attack, while “Something Beyond,” “Winding Down” and “Only Time Will Tell” put a heavier spin the prime skronk of fellow travelers the Effigies.
Aggressive enough to wake the neighbors while remaining focused and controlled, Blood! points to a bright future that unfortunately never came to be.
DOWNLOAD: “Winding Down,” “Something Beyond,” “Your Eyes”