Baptists – Bloodmines (Southern Lord)

Sunday, 26th October 2014
Rating: 6/10

Of course Converge’s Kurt Ballou produced this. While certainly not a bad thing (the dude has a long client list for a reason), it breeds the sort of sonic sameness that ruffled people’s feathers when Scott Burns was handling practically all of early 90s death metal here in the States, or when Frederick Nordstrom became a melodic death metal factory at the dawn of this century. Silly gripes aside, Ballou is the right guy to harness a band like Vancouver’s Baptists, who are another in a long line of noisy, ill-tempered punk/crust/metal bands Southern Lord is so fond of. Two years removed from their Bushcraft debut, the band is up for another go-round with the similarly-styled Bloodmines.

Clocking in at roughly 25 minutes with 11 songs to fill out the running order, the predictable throttle and d-beat plunder of most of the album’s tunes doesn’t have a lot of traction circa late-2014. This sort of action was hip and happening two years ago when virtually any in-between punk and metal dude could come out of the woodwork and start a band…it’s not all that throttling today, unfortunately. But, Baptists give it the ‘ole college try on fast and furious cuts like “Wanting,” “String Up,” and “Harm Induction,” a trio that follows a similar thread of regular drum pounding, amped-up punk riffs shuttled through overdrive, and the rampant Chloraseptic barks. A concerted attempt to get out of their standard sound comes via “Vistas” and the title track, the latter of which is the only song of promise and/or worth to be found thanks to its open-spacing.

Hindered (and quite obviously so) by their single-mindedness, Baptists are certainly a quality one-trick pony if we want to work with just the d-beat punk-on-metal field. But as we’ve come to learn the last few years, that will only take you so far. Bloodmines doesn’t have much to go around or to work with. Good thing the 25-minutes go by fast.

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