Album Reviews

Bl’ast!: Blood! (Southern Lord)

blast

 

A caveat: this is not, as reported, a long-lost Bl’ast! album; it is merely a remastered and remixed version of the Santa Cruz-based band’s second album (and debut for legendary punk label SST), It’s In My Blood!, released in 1987. Though slightly disappointing it is to not have new, lost vintage recordings from these hardcore masters, that disappointment is made up for in spades, as uber-fan Dave Grohl is the man responsible for the earth-shaking remix.

Like most SST releases, the original record was murky and dirty, but Blood! is cleaned up, clear, and a powerhouse of rock. Give Grohl credit; he understood that the power of Bl’ast came both from the words of Clifford Dinsmore, the powerful drumming of Bill Torgerson, and the guitar work of Mike Neider. Though the band suffered somewhat from constant comparisons to Black Flag, it’s easy to understand why SST would go for them; their rock is sludgy, hard, and fast, and an interesting blend of punk and metal that would satisfy both fans of Metallica and Suicidal Tendencies.

What makes Blood! of interest to fans is that WIlliam Duvall, second guitarist, appears here. His contributions really don’t make much of an alteration to the overall sonic arrangements, and it’s understandable why they ditched the two-guitarist lineup, so, really, what you’re hearing here is a cleanup of a great record with outtakes that don’t differ much from the finished product. Then again, there’s really not much to change about perfect thrash numbers like “Winding Down,” “SSSHHH!,” and the potent title track. If you weren’t familiar with the work of Bl’ast, then this is the place to start; kudos to Grohl for making a potent record even more powerful.

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