Album Review: Brand Of Sacrifice – “Lifeblood” 8/10 (Deathcore)

Written by Zax

  • Brand Of SacrificeLifeblood
  • Deathcore from Canada
  • Released independently March 5th, 2021
  • 8/10

Whether you like deathcore or not, it’s pretty easy to see that the genre isn’t exactly in its heyday right now, and there’s a couple of reasons for that. Almost all of the biggest bands in the genre have either fallen from grace or faded from the limelight. That leaves fans looking for the next big thing, and unfortunately they aren’t really getting it, because young bands are really struggling with innovation. It is of my opinion that the band currently carrying the whole fucking scene on their back is Brand of Sacrifice, here’s why.

It seems like it was just yesterday, but really it was mid-2018 when I saw that Unique Leader Records had signed a new band called Brand Of Sacrifice, so naturally I went to check them out on their Instagram… Only to find memes and videos of their vocalist prank calling people. That raised some red flags, but then when their EP The Insterstice actually dropped, it blew me and many others away. So, they had this modern marketing strategy plus some firm label backing, and quickly followed up the hype of the EP with 2019’s debut full-length God Hand. It was an album that I enjoyed, but didn’t love as much as the EP. Still though, their hype grew. It grew so big in fact that they hopped off of Unique Leader Records and went independent. Now, just over a year and a half since the release of God Hand, they’ve unveiled their new album Lifeblood, and man, I have to give them massive kudos for the rollout for this record. They’ve made tons of amazing merch and exclusive vinyl pressings completely independently, and it’s all sold very well. Incredibly impressive for such a young band in an extreme metal subgenre, but does the music still live up to the hype?

Yes, matter of fact, this might be their best project yet. This is one chaotic ass listen you guys. They pack a ton of different stuff into this one record, including, but not limited to: crushing breakdowns, epic symphonics, technical lead work, downtempo deathcore chugs, a heaping helping of panic chords, genuinely catchy hooks, ferocious drumming, and brilliant vocals. It’s a lot to take in, and it’s unrelenting in it’s sonic overtaking of the eardrums. The vocalist has some fantastic gutturals (that are actually pretty clear when it comes to making out the lyrics) and some particularly piercing high screams. The use of choruses on tracks like “Foe of the Inhuman” are really nice to see, it’s rare to see good hooks in extreme metal of any sort.

Artwork by Pedro Sena

One big thing you’ll notice when looking at this record is the abnormal amount of featured artists, and I just want to dissect some of those, because I think they play a pretty big part in the shaping of the album. You’ll see names like Ben Duerr (Shadow of Intent), Tyler Shelton (Traitors), and Jamie Graham (Viscera, Heart Of A Coward), and that’s all fine and good. Then, we see Frankie Palmeri (Emmure) which is, you know, significantly less fine and good, and then there’s Eric Vanlerburghe… “Who in the wide world of fuck is Eric Vanlerburghe?” I thought to myself. Turns out, he’s the vocalist of motherfucking I Prevail. If you aren’t familiar, they’re that metalcore band that charted in the U.S. on account of a cover they did of Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” and they’ve been insufferable as fuck ever since. I’m not even mad, I just wanna know how this wild collaboration came to be! Anyways, how do they stack up? I’d say Tyler Shelton and Jamie Graham really take the cake here as far as best features go. When it comes to the worst… Ol Frankie makes 0 impact, and Eric’s vocals are way too weak to keep up, although his presence may have something to do with the great hook on that track.

If I had one bone to pick with this record, it’d probably have to be the production. Let me be clear, the production is not bad, but I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, if you’re gonna make a record as jampacked and epic as this, you need to get a producer who can handle all of that weight. If you don’t, there will absolutely be places where the record feels sort of compressed and claustrophobic. It’s the same gripe I had with the last Exocrine record, too. That said, it does not ruin the album. The musicianship and raw talent of this band is more than enough to make this album absolute gold regardless.

So, on the off chance you’ve not heard this yet, I’d definitely do so if I were you. Not only is it a fantastic record, but it’s going to be a definitive deathcore release for 2021, and with their firepower, I don’t see them going anywhere anytime soon.

8/10

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