March 1, 2010 | | 3.5

Karloff, Bled Dry

Karloff: Bled Dry

Karloff is a Ft. Wayne, IN based straight-edge band that plays some seriously vicious d-beat influenced hardcore. The band’s first EP, Bled Dry, is a DIY effort (the dudes formed their own label to release it) that straddles a few genres in the seven short tracks it tries to restrain.

Blending that hardcore base with influences of grind and punk, these dudes hit hard and heavy with thick bass, bruising guitars and beefy drum work. Vocally, there’s usually a couple of dudes shouting their balls off at you, but for the most part it settles in a mid-range raspy shout. The EP is short (like an EP should be), but packs a solid punch to the ribs.

Suicide By Fire
The opening track is the longest, starting off with thudding bass and nicely timed riffs that build to a chugging swell as the drums come in. The pace is pretty slow for the most part, but that quickly changes at the one minute mark as the guys throw it into over drive with a quickened rhythm and punk tinged, thrashing guitars. The vocals are harsh and direct in its delivery.

I dig the grinding opening to this next song as the guys let loose with a flurry of activity from every one. The gang vocals and thick bass will eave you drooling and bruised for more — also offering a good opportunity to shout along with the band.

I love the bass tones that the band is throwing around in this EP. It’s thick and solid, giving the rest of the band a rumbling foundation to build off of. There’s a bit of a stoner vibe to this song around the :35 mark that is a bit odd for straight-edge dudes, but it’s a nice touch and keeps the EP fresh.

Bled Dry
The chill opening to the title track will definitely catch you off guard. The smooth, subtle rhythm slowly builds into a churning mass of riffs around the :40 mark as the vocals come in. The overall tone is thick and monolithic. Karloff have done a nice job adding in some different influences outside of what you would expect from a group that primarily plays bruising hardcore.

“Dissent” is a grinding, power-violence monstrosity of a song even though it lasts a mere minute or so. The opening is furious and messy as hell, but works real well for the song as the guys shift into thrashing guitars and an up-tempo bludgeoning. The vocals are vicious and in-your-face.

Dreams and Nightmares
Seriously, the bass on this EP has a great presence in each track. “Dreams and Nightmares” is no different as the thudding bass drives along relentlessly as decent riffing and steady drums keep the momentum flowing. There’s a much darker tone to this song, especially around the 1:15 mark with some beefy riff work.

“Faithless” starts off slowly with some solid bass and steady drums but settles into a trading vocals delivery with guitar hits. There’s definitely a whole lot of head banging and fist pumping groove in the sludgier tone of this final track. There pace picks up just after the one minute mark with a mid-tempo rhythm and chugging guitars, but then takes a turn to the dark side with some beat-down riffs as the tone becomes more violent. This is definitely a bruising way to end a pretty damned good EP.

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