One of the biggest problem I think that I had with Bonded By Blood‘s last album, Exiled To Earth, was the production and the rehashed sound that they continued with from their debut full length. It wasn’t so much the musical abilities of the members, because it was all there. The solos were solid and the songs were overall pretty good, but it just sounded all too familiar, as if the band wasn’t trying to evolve their thrash sound into their own. They simply sounded as if they were continuing to be an Exodus tribute band.
I’m not sure if it’s the fact that original frontman Jose Baralles left, but new singer Mauro Gonzalez has brought with him a fresh vocal sound and seems to fill the void well. Has the overall sound of the band changed? Yes and no. Again, it sounds as if the band has evolved their sound to sound more original with a distinct groove that is both heavy and catchy while continuing to be what they are; a thrash band. The production on this album sounds much more crisp. The drums sounD punchier and the solos sound tighter and brighter. Jessie Sanchez addition to the lineup brings a more skilled sound to the bottom end, especially in songs such as the title track and “Left Behind”.
Heavy, more groove laden songs like “Among The Vultures”, step away from the signature old school thrash while keeping a modern sound and feel to the music. “Restless Minds” switches between speed metal grooves and galloping riffs with bass breaks and superb thrash solos. One thing you will hear in Gonzalez’ vocals is a high pitched vibrato attempt in a few places. That may sound strange, almost power-metalish and unfitting in the music, but it works.
On their first full length, Bonded By Blood recorded a cover of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme that was quite well for a thrash cover. On The Aftermath, the band opts for a slightly more modern song to cover from a genre not their own. Interestingly enough, they covered one of my favorite Rage Against The Machine tunes with Killing in The Name Of. Not a song you expect to hear covered by a thrash band, but they don;t try too hard to change it up and it sounds really good.
Overall, Bonded By Blood have written a really good neo-thrash album. I almost wrote them off after Exiled To Earth. With The Aftermath, I am quite impressed and feel that the band is back on track and trying to create their own groove while not trying so hard to be re-revisited thrash tribute band. Great job, guys.