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3.5 out of 5 skulls

Baptists Bloodmines

I thoroughly enjoyed Baptists‘ debut album, Bushcraft. That first release’s blend of ferocity and aggression was more than enough for me to look forward to their latest offering. And once I hit play — well, after the 45 second long “Intro” — on Bloodmines, I knew I wasn’t going to be disappointed.

For the Vancouver-based group’s sophomore album, we’ve packed 11 tracks into just 25 minutes of metallic hardcore fury in similar vein to Converge and the like. Produced by Kurt Ballou, this album isn’t just loud and bludgeoning, but often sees the band settle into less-frenetic grooves — a much needed respite amongst the hardcore, grind and punk-infused attack.

“Wanting” truly opened up the album with thundering drum work and caustic, driving guitars. The presentation is aggressive and pissed as Baptists tear through the track with a distinct focus. From here we jump into the full on blast of “String Up,” complete with a couple of gang shouts and a steam-rolling rhythm section. The song sort of reminds a little of much older American Nightmare (before the Give Up the Ghost name change), but not as screamy. “Closed Ports” is a favorite as it grinds through it’s brief run-time with wreckless abandon.

We finally see a slow down with “Vistas” as the song opens with a doomy, rolling bass rumble before churning along with an overall dark atmosphere and malevolent intentions. “Harm Induction” and “Festered” are both raucous tracks that on their own kick solid ass, but tend to get lost between “Vistas” and the title track. “Bloodmines” also slows things down with a despondent vibe a the group moves through burly riffs and open, desparate vocal work.

With the decent ebb and flow of energy, the band decided to wrap up Bloodmines with the bludgeoning one-two punch of “Calling” and “For Profit.” The former brings a touch of melody to it’s rollicking delivery and reverb-drenched sound while the latter unleashes hell on your skull with rabid drums and off-kilter guitars. The result is one hell of a way to wrap up a solid second offering. I look forward to more from these guys.

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