Bonded by Blood is regularly cited as one of the top bands that’s a part of the thrash metal revival movement (I’ve never seen this listed as TMRM but c’mon – it needs to be). Of course they take their name from the classic Exodus record and musically they sound like them as well. Many bands in this movement have decided to clone the ‘80s from their outfits right down to the sound of their albums. Bonded By Blood is absolutely one of those groups.

I could sit here and try to bullshit my way through dozens of reasons why they are moving the genre forward and all the little style differences that would show how much Exiled to Earth doesn’t sound like it was from 1988 but that would be a lie. By taking the name Bonded By Blood these guys are clearly indicating the alter they worship at and that’s nothing that really has to be twisted around to make anyone feel better about themselves.

So since this album is vintage ‘80s all around let’s take this review back to the ‘80s as well and determine if you will like this – choose your adventure style.

You have picked up your iPod and are going through your playlists. You click on “Thrash”.

You: A) Scroll down to Exodus or B) See the group Bonded By Blood and stop.

If you chose A, listen to the album Bonded By Blood and your adventure is over. If you chose B, click on Exiled to Earth and begin listening.

You are now listening to Exiled to Earth, two minutes into the first track “600 A.B. (After the Bomb)” you realize that this sounds exactly like their 2008 Earache debut, Feed the Beast.

You: A) Curse yourself for spending the money when you simply could have listened to the last album or B) Ponder how Bonded By Blood can be so consistent.

If you chose A, cycle down to Exodus’ Fabulous Disaster and listen. Your adventure is over. If you chose B, begin to thrash around the room.

You are now thrashing around the room. Stop and sit down for a minute. You do a little research on the band and find out they have a new bassist named Jerry Garcia.

You: A) Wonder why the Grateful Dead dude came back to life to play ‘80s thrash metal or B) couldn’t give a fuck.

If you chose A, you like jam bands and you’re listening to the wrong genre. Your adventure is over. If you chose B, stop and listen to Exodus’ Shovel Headed Kill Machine. Your adventure is over.

As you can clearly see, every adventure ends by simply listening to Exodus in the first place (or digging up the bones of Mr. Garcia).

Pro-Pain’s Absolute Power was released overseas back in May, but Regain records is finally released it in the US this week. The group is now 12 albums strong into their career and until right now, I’ve never heard even one track from them. Why? Because I don’t like Hardcore.

I spent my college years in New Jersey which has a pretty solid Hardcore scene and I remember always feeling that it was music for angry dudes with too much testosterone. All these hardcore shows were taking place and people were getting the shit beat out of them for what seemed like no good reason at all. So it wasn’t my thing.

Now of course, I’m older, I’ve taken the time to listen to a billion things over the years and while I still don’t care for the sound of hardcore, I realize that while my feelings aren’t exactly unfounded they probably don’t need to be that harsh.

So of course when the new Pro-Pain record appeared in my queue initially, I kind of brushed it off. I knew the name, I knew the scene and just didn’t want to waste my time with it. Then out of some random whim recently I decided to give it a listen. Christ, I hope to hell the other 11 Pro-Pain albums don’t sound like this because if they do, I’ve been missing something great and I like to think that greatness always has a way to find me. Ha.

Absolute Power is a damn awesome record which sounds a lot more like groove metal to me than hardcore, but whatever you want to call it, it’s catchy as fuck from start to finish and you know what, a mosh pit would really feel good right now. It’s an album that never lets up in any way and really represents its title very well. Just take a listen to “Hell On Earth” below and you’ll hear one of the best riffs on the disc.  “AWOL” is a bit harder and a really quick burst of great energy without ditching the melody for pure power and “Rise of the Antichrist” features one of the best solos on the entire disc.

I haven’t read anything else about this album since it never crossed my radar so I’d love to hear from a fan of the band and see what they think. This could be a complete change in sound, totally generic etc….and I wouldn’t know. It’s actually kind of refreshing to come into this one pretty much blind and if this is what hardcore and/or Pro-Pain has sounded like all along, then I’ve been totally wrong about the genre and Steed is never wrong.  Yeah, right.  This one is a must listen – and that statement is as correct as I’ve ever been.

Scorpions are nocturnal creatures, so sun in their house would probably make them very angry and if so, they have the perfect disc to listen to right here. “Morbid Black Dreams Bringing Madness” and “Ceremonies to Awake Thy Ageless Hate” aren’t exactly happy-go-lucky tunes.

Sun in the House of the Scorpion is the second full-length from Blood of Kingu which I suppose is looked at as more of a side project for the members of black metal group, Drudkh. Drudkh has remained an underground black metal band for many years though their catalog gets rave reviews. They have more of an atmospheric feel than Blood of Kingu which pounds you with some straightforward black metal riffs and guttural growls.

Now and then Blood of Kingu do offer something different than normal black metal, mainly through allowing drummer Yuriy Sinitsky to open up a bit and also with a doom-ish cover of Beherit’s “The Gate of Nanna” but a lot of the album feels a little too standard and repetitive for me. What starts off promising quickly becomes a blur when you reach “Incantation Of He Who Sleeps” as the fourth track. Somewhere around the halfway point of the nearly ten-and-a-half minute track any challenging riffs cease and the rest of the song is cycle of one riff and some blast beats.

Black metal fans should definitely take a listen to this one as it definitely has some great moments, but it doesn’t seem like a record that would stay in anyone’s mix for a long time.

Well, it’s not often that I see track names like “Garra de Jaguar (Ocho Venado)” and find out the group hails out of the metal hotbed of Salt Lake City, Utah. Yaotl Mitclan has a Mayan heritage which is reflected in the lyrics (so I’m told, as they aren’t in any language I understand). Other than drummer Yaotl, they cover up their faces on stage and hang severed heads from stakes at each corner. Whatever floats your boat I guess.

The music on Dentro del Manto Gris de Chaac is quite melodic for black metal and there are some cool additions, like harmony vocals, tribal breakdowns and nature sounds, with rain and fire in various parts throughout the disc. All these items work well to enhance the raw and brutal sound of the core of the band. “Hun Hunapu” is a little disjointed but sticks out for its catchy riffs and soloing. “Gemelos Heroes” (download) is my favorite on the disc starting off extremely melodic before turning into straight black metal with screaming vocals that are unlike what’s on the rest of the disc.

Dentro del Manto Gris de Chaac is a very interesting and captivating listen – definitely worth your time even if you aren’t really a black metal fan.