Coming off the back of two successful E.P.s, Harrogate trio Blood Youth have finally released their debut record, Beyond Repair, into the wild. Having gone through a handful of line-up changes, the boys are ready to showcase their own brand of melodic-hardcore to the world. But can it live up to the expectations set by previous material?
The second you press play on Beyond Repair, one thing is incredibly clear: this band aren't newcomers in the game. From the opening riffs of "Making Waves" to the closing moments of "Man Made Distaster", the calculated edges of the band's sound and production are immediate. It all showcases an outfit that exudes confidence and pride in their more natural soundscape. Make no mistake, there's no auto-tune here, this is a rough and ready record and that's just how the band like it.
The sound the band has honed over the course of their previous two E.P.s (Inside My Head and Composure) is that of a melodic-hardcore band that not only know their way around a breakdown or two. On top of that, they clearly have an acute understanding of the genres they look to meld in a way that's often overlooked by most bands looking to Frankenstein their way into a 'unique' sound. The band's almost schizophrenic identity shifts from bouncing, groove-laden hardcore to clean cut hard rock-esque choruses in the blink of an eye, and the quality in which the band present themselves in both of these guises is fairly impressive.
However, it's not all impressive. Some of the cleaner sections can feel pretty homogenous at times, and if I was asked now, three or four listens in, to distinguish a track from another I'd have a pretty hard time doing so, and therein lies the issue with Beyond Repair. Despite it's lovably rough aesthetic and it's head-boppingly good grooves, it just doesn't feel all that fresh. This certainly isn't an album you haven't heard before, it's merely another decent effort in a long, long line of good melodic-hardcore debuts. That's not to say that Blood Youth can't expand upon their sound on Beyond Repair to bring an excellent follow-up, though. In fact, going on the strength found on this record, I might even expect the band to deliver something truly remarkable the next time around.
For example, some of the riff-work on Beyond Repair is really impressive. Tracks like "Pulling Teeth" & "Savannah" showcase the band at their best, juggling pulverising groove with abrasive technicality. The band finds their feet most often during these periods of extended aggression, as opposed to the more mundane melody-heavy choruses on tracks like "What I'm Running From". At a concise 34 minutes, the record doesn't overstay its welcome, and in an age of bands feeling as though they MUST give more with each release to please a fan-base, it's refreshing to see a band put their best forward and not fluff out a release with extra tracks of unnecessary filler.
In the end, what you have here is a perfectly competent, at times very good melodic-hardcore record that's sure to put a grimace on your face and a stomp in your step, but at the end of the day I'm not sure it's going to do much more than that in the long run. At a time where bands like Bury Tomorrow, While She Sleeps and Architects are at the top of their game in the scene, is there room for another band like Blood Youth when the pool is so strong? The passion is certainly there, but the talent remains to be seen somewhere down the line.
Written by Joey Stoate
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