Friday, August 24, 2018

Joe D. Carpenter - Under The Blood


'Under The Blood' is the first in a proposed three-part EP series scheduled to be released during 2018 by former Nihilist(US), Mezzanine and Volume IV main man, Joe D. Carpenter. This Louisiana exile, now living in Georgia, does it all on his own and he does it damned well. What strikes me right away – apart from the great songs – are the programmed drums. My sentiment is if you don’t play electronic music programmed drums are a big no-no, but Joe is onto something here. The drums actually sound very real which is extremely rare but very positive.

Handling all the instruments yourself is a tricky disposition at best, because the musician behind it all is usually way more fluent in one maybe two instruments. That leads to those instruments being pushed too far to the front, leaving the rest hidden deep in the mix. This is not the case with Mr. Carpenter whatsoever. Everything is perfectly and evenly placed making ‘Under The Blood’ full, rich and alive.

Opener, and the title track, ‘Under The Blood’ comes across as pretty brutal in a bone-crushing kind of way, at first. But it only takes a minute until a nice melodic pattern appears. Moving side by side this combination works so well, building on emotions perfectly. Soaring and out there with a feel of dejection, ‘The Wanting’ tells of one person’s yearning to turn another person into someone who they are not. Beautiful solos amidst the inner turmoil…sounds like a bit of King’s X! ‘Never Alive’ is a mid-tempo led-heavy, yet melodic kick in the nuts with an amazing solo. Might be wrong but there’s a sense of lamentation, as if you were on the outside looking in on someone close who opted to wither away instead of living. Skull crushing rifforama at the end!

Oh yeah, this is kickass rock’n’roll, alright! Pounding drums and a thumping bass guitar leads ‘Rebel Chief’¨ into a riff-fest, and then some. No holds barred, Joe spares no punches as he goes for the kill. Awesome stuff! The odd one out, ‘The Kill’ is short, acoustic, haunting and sinister with a sense of reflectiveness. Brilliant guitar work helps so well in creating the dark moods of the song. Crushing and in your face, ‘See What You Are’ is like ol’ school thrash. Pedal to the metal, this is total annihilation and I love it.

A great initial start to this trilogy of EPs, where Joe has mixed heaviness and melody to great aplomb. There’s a nice flow through the songs and that’s due to great songwriting skills and musicianship. Definitely sets the bar high for the next EP which I can’t wait to hear. In the meantime ‘Under The Blood’ has my blood going as it is always great to hear a debut being this damned good!

-Swedebeast


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