Raindance - New Blood
Record Label: Self-Released
Release Date: May 19, 2012
Having a band that features former members of rather reputable hardcore bands can make for an interesting impression before even listening to a note of Raindance’s sludgy, engaging brand of hardcore. Names like Have Heart and Outrage might give you a few ideas as to where the band’s latest EP might take you, but to be perfectly honest the similarities to those bands arguably end there. New Blood is the newest in the band’s discography, preceded mostly by a handful of arguably ‘not quite there’ releases, but this time around expand upon a full-frontal assault hinged on early Every Time I Die stuck in a pit of quicksand – with an unapologetic fronting voice seemingly on the edge of completely losing it. It isn’t your traditional approach to metallic hardcore, that’s the truth, but in the process of brash honestly and abrasive dabbling New Blood finds a way to work that is strange yet intriguing.
“Dine with the Devil” is exhibit A to the proceedings. It doesn’t open the six track EP, but it shows Raindance at its blunt-force finest. A gritty guitar riff grinds back and forth until dissipating behind straight venomous lines and pulverizing percussion, with “To Hell With Them” following in a similar vibe – keeping the laid-back tempo but throwing in a grimy, yet catchy melody to boot. The guitar-leaning mix of the instrumentation certainly places emphasis where it needs to be, making the sometimes unnoticed drumming an often off-kilter icing on the cake in terms of how these tracks flesh out.
The brooding nature of this EP shows strongest through on tracks such as “Bloodlust” and opener “Bottle Throated Kings”, both of which feature dire vibes and a hint of clean-leaning vocals. “Kings” gives us the biggest boost of upbeat tempos on the EP, shifting with a barrage of drums into a slightly droning, yet still ominous section of searing guitars and more in-your-face vocals. It certainly seems that while there is no filter or holdback in the lyrical department, it makes it a little less appealing to anyone looking for something perhaps more in the positive hardcore department. Don’t let that discourage you if you’re on the fence though, as New Blood comes across as an outlet for both vocalist and listener as you get sucked further and further into the quicksand this EP seems to thrive in musically.
The odd thing about New Blood is in the added bits of electronics that end tracks like “To Hell With Them” and “Bottle Throated Kings”. While definitely interesting in their own slightly industrial right, these endings kill the very raw vibe this EP emits otherwise through its dark chords and buzzsaw grit. It’s also really strange to put a finger on it, but the vocal delivery throughout New Blood, while very easy to decipher and often ripe with emotion and a hint of variance, seems quite familiar. It almost reminds of early Emmure in some moments – particularly the mellow by comparison talking delivery in said band's number "When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong" – but disregarding said reference point, the vocals are simply shouted or spoken with bits of rasp and grit thrown in. At moments it does come across a little flat or not emote quite as sharply as it could (“Dine With The Devil”), but for the most part it does enough to fit the mood of the music without overpowering or sounding completely out of place.
New Blood is a peculiar case to look at in the hardcore scene. While not inherently metal, nor quite right up the standard hardcore alley, the pendulum-like guitars and slicing lyrics make for a strong case that Raindance have something different to bring to the table. With some strong songwriting moments and a rather cathartic undertone, New Blood might end up as a branching point for some hardcore fans and a solid starting point for those looking for something a little darker to mosh along to.
I don't listen to very much hardcore, but I really enjoyed this. It kind of reminded me of Code Orange Kids and Undark and the Radium Girls a little bit. "To Hell With Them" is my favorite track at the moment.