Blood from Above - The Winning Fight (independent) 2005
1. "Swordplay Advantage"
I remember back in the late 80's and early 90's getting all these photocopied fanzines and ordering demos by bands I had never heard of based solely on the fact that they were labeled 'thrash' or 'speed metal'. Some of them would be surprisingly good, while others were disappointing. I discovered great bands like Deliverance and Precious Death by such means. "The Winning Fight" by Blood from Above reminds me of those days. I read a bit about the band on-line and my interest was peaked because of the thrash label given them and for the fact that their lyrics were faith based. Blood From Above is a one man thrash metal project by Brian Krul. "The Winning Fight" is the band's first release and is a no-budget demo, most likely recorded in Brian's home. I lived with the CD for several weeks before writing anything about it as I didn't want my initial disappointment in the production to bias my entire review. Unfortunately, there is no escaping the fact that the music is severely hampered by the poor recording and uneven mix. However, there are some interesting ideas presented here. The music is aggressive and is delivered with a punk like fury. This is something I can appreciate. At times the music reminded me of those old, noisy, European thrash bands. Bands like Sodom, Living Death and Destruction had a similar sound early on. Even the vocals have the familiar rough and raw quality of some of those early metal masters. One big difference, however, is in the songwriting. Most of the material isn't quite as memorable. Even after listening to this CD ten times, I still cannot remember one chorus, one melody, or even a riff for that matter. Also, usually when I think of thrash, I think of the precise guitar delivery of bands like Testament, Exodus, Megadeth and Dark Angel. They have that tight style of downpicking or stacatto picking. The guitar playing here isn't quite as tight as I had hoped. Also absent from the equation are the shredding guitar solos generally associated with thrash. Instead Brian sticks more to his punk-influenced rhythm style. One final, minor negative is that the drums sound very digital. At first I had assumed that a drum machine had been used, but I have been told that Brian recorded all the drums himself on a Roland digital kit. Either way, when the drums are out on their own they sound very digital.
One of the things about thrash is that it is generally a style of music that offers very vivid opinions and ideas. That seems to be the case here as well. Unfortunately no lyrics were included nor were they posted on the band's web site. From what I can tell of Brian's motivation here is to be very open about his faith in Jesus Christ. A couple songs were sung "in the Spirit", meaning Brian is singing in a language meant as a personal prayer language between him and God. This will probably be very confusing to those outside the faith, which is why I think the Bible was specific in pointing out that if tongues are used in a public setting that an interpretation should be included or otherwise it does no good to the listener. This aside, I totally appreciate and support Brian's desire to offer the hope he has found in Jesus.
Blood From Above's "Winning the Fight" is a demo CD and shows some promise for future releases, if Brian can get a better recording and tighten up the songs a bit. I look forward to his next release.