Santa Cruz – Bad Blood Rising (M-Theory Audio)

Sunday, 3rd December 2017
Rating: 8.5/10

Promising an intoxicating combination of ‘bigger riffs, better hooks, and badder attitude’ – Santa Cruz aim to establish a stronger presence in North America through their recent signing to M-Theory Audio and releasing their third album Bad Blood Rising. Intuitive in placing songs in car advertising, sports programming, plus establishing a fervent following through touring (including a successful run opening for Amaranthe during the spring of 2015 stateside) – the quartet straddle the lines of melodic hard rock and sleaze metal, showcasing a style that may have fallen out of favor for decades but still has vital significance in terms of unleashing great energy and good times.

Santa Cruz excel at executing that proper riff/tempo combination that instantly captures your headspace – beyond the multi-part vocal harmonies that penetrate the choruses. It’s the type of anthemic natural ambiance that puts “Back from the Dead” and first single/video “Young Blood Rising” into permanent set list situations – resembling classic Skid Row or Kissin’ Dynamite for current reference points. Johnny and Archie execute guitar solos like proficient masters of their craft, tempering the shred with melodic moments and also using wah wah pedal effects from time to time. They know how to play off each other and come together in twin bliss for “River Phoenix” while reaching back into the Wild West/ tumbleweeds for the acoustic/electric blend within “Get Me Out of California”. The whistling and softer, subdued vocals in the ballad “Breathe” push that “Patience” / Guns ‘n’ Roses feature, while the subsequent “Voice of the New Generation” adds cyber keyboard dynamics into the Santa Cruz slash and dash arrangement. Unafraid to name drop political figures or current trends from Donald Trump to Bernie Sanders in the lyrics, the connections keep them in line with their audience – all here to enjoy the party.

With only one cut reaching over five-minutes, it’s easy to establish Santa Cruz in that ‘all killer/no filler’ category when it comes to the art of the record. Bad Blood Rising hopefully will keep the band making more in roads with their sleazy brand of hard rock/metal, so that larger crowds and headlining situations become the norm much sooner than later.

Santa Cruz official website