Overall Score: 7/10 Riffs : 8/10 Vocals : 8/10 Originality : 6/10 Pros: A fitting send off for Kaya Tarsus | That guitar tone Cons: Perhaps a little too derivative for some
The surprise announcement of vocalist Kaya Tarsus departing Blood Youth last month was certainly not something fans saw coming. Especially knowing a new album was on the horizon. It’s no secret that mental health and his struggles with this have been at the centre of Blood Youth’s lyrics and as such his reasons for leaving make sense and were completely justified. And this adds another layer of realness to their new album Visions of Another Hell.
Opener a-LTX begins with a heavy dose of atmospherics and builds into a lumbering bruiser of a track, that breakdown hits so hard and the ends brings in some of the increased electronics they’ve introduced this time. Iron Lung feels like the natural development from Starve, the Nu Metal influence is still present on this dark and menacing track (Kaya spoke to Rock Sins about their love for Nu Metal in an interview a couple of years back). The biggest change though is in how they deploy the melody, there’s still clean vocals which give the chorus a real lift. But its full of despair this time instead of the sort of poppy choruses Blood Youth used in the past. Again there’s a nice use of electronics to just enhance the melody here without being too distracting.
For the most part though this Visions of Another Hell is still just built on crushing metalcore. Chris Pritchards‘ guitar tone here is devastatingly heavy making those breakdowns hit like a sledgehammer. There’s loads of bounce in the riffs too, they might be slightly recycled Korn riffs at times but that doesn’t make them any less effective. It’s not just pure brutality though as songs like Cells show more restraint and as a result feel more menacing. Even the chorus has a real feeling of despair to it. They even bring in some choral vocals at the end to add some genuine drama to the track. The ambition and scope of this record is where they have really taken a step forward, even if its still working within the same formula as before.
Still, it’s the songs like Body of Wire and Something to Numb the Pain that are gonna be fan favourites. It’s impressive to see Blood Youth get heavier with each successive release. There’s a real desire to just sound as crushingly heavy as possible even when not just relying on sonic devastation. So even when you get tracks like Open Window which is one of the most melodic tracks here, its still full of so much drama. Or the twisted glitchy electronics on Kept In a Box.
The one problem people might still have with Blood Youth is a lack of originality. Take Colony3, a song that could not be more Iowa inspired if it tried. Everything from the riffing to how the drums blast is pure Slipknot worship. This lack of originality will probably be the main sticking point for some. A lot of the ideas on this record have been heard before but the level of enthusiasm with which Blood Youth attack them is really endearing. So when Human Blur closes out with a riff that is pure Gojira worship, complete with pic scrapes it still feels exciting.
Vocally this record is Kaya’s most accomplished work with Blood Youth as well. His range as a vocalist is pushed that little bit further and his clean vocals are used in more interesting ways than just a big poppy chorus. As his swan song with the band this is something he can be really proud of.
Visions of Another Hell is a nice step forward for Blood Youth. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel but is still rammed with mosh pit anthems and a few other cool ideas for the band to build on. It manages to close out one chapter of the band whilst tearing open the next one. Closing track Dogma really feels like Kaya’s emotional farewell, it really is a shame to see him go but he bows out on a high.
Visions Of Another Hell is out now on Rude Records.