Leading the next generation of the heaviest bands of Britain’s counter culture, gloomsters Death Blooms have burst onto the scene with an accessible mix of nu metal and pure hatred on their debut album, cheerfully titled ‘Life is Pain’ (they are from Liverpool after all). Having already been bestowed with the honour of opening the Download Pilot, being the very first band to get to perform on the hallowed grounds in over two years, the four piece manage to capture the ferocity of their acclaimed live performances in a succinct and positively brutal record.
Despite having been written before lockdown, almost every track on ‘Life is Pain’ comes with an almost entirely new perspective. The band’s nu metal meets metalcore meets industrial hybrid descends into a nasty swipe at “the shit-stains of society” as expletive-filled opener ‘Shut Up’ takes no time at all in filling up the swear jar.
Exploding with euphoric choruses and psychotic vocal lines, vocalist Paul Barrow often stretches his boundaries with his schizophrenic style, showing off just how far his chords can go as every scream hits you with more bile than the last. Although lyrically when he doesn’t resort to a naughty word, it can sometimes veer into cliche territory such as the done to death “how will I ever love again” on ‘Sorrow’ for example.
Elsewhere on the album, ‘In Your Head’ is a hard as nails blend of metalcore and a Linkin Park sized melodic chorus. The title track offers a respectful nod to The Prodigy with an EDM and industrial vibe before it descends into a menacing assault where you finally get an understanding of Burrow’s personal agony that can be so relatable. The band’s savage musicianship comes into play throughout the album as they lead into huge breakdowns which should come with a warning as it will cause ceilings to collapse and risk any headbanger’s skulls to crack.
There are a handful of standout moments from the rhythm section like the mind boggling drum fills that come out of nowhere and the breakneck speed of the intro to ‘Anger’. The song’s superfast and inspired riff catches you off-guard in a whirlwind before leading into a gargantuan gang vocal. Most notably the riff heavy ‘One Release’ acts as the band’s epic ode to the mosh pit. The perfect song to release all of your frustrations to, whether that’s in the middle of a wall of death or just having a stomp around your own bedroom. Speaking of frustration, a mammoth amount of pent up emotion goes into Barrow violent yell of “you fucking liar” on lead single ‘Choke’.
While the anger and sheer viciousness of the album is clear, the hooks and depth of each track lacks a certain atmosphere and any kind of musical grandiosity. There’s nothing monumental that sets ‘Life is Pain’ apart from a collection of mid-noughties Soil, Sevendust, Drowning Pool and Mudvayne albums but as far as debuts go, Death Blooms are following all the right footsteps.
Closing on the most vocally unique ‘Inside’, the band take you by surprise with an unexpected almost ballad like song that gives ‘Life is Pain’ the rapturous crescendo that it needs. Death Blooms prove that there may be further diversity to them after all, ready to be tapped into more in the future.
Offering a big swipe of nu metal nostalgia and a small debt to Slipknot, ‘Life is Pain’ is fun, catchy, depressing and heavy as hell. Every song is a guaranteed singalong. The confrontational yet impulsively addictive sound makes Death Blooms a brilliant modern gateway band for all things metal, now with an arsenal of pit-ready alternative anthems.