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Originality60
Lyrical Content60
Longevity80
Overall Impact75
Reader Rating1 Vote69
69
The hearty doses of stage-dive inducing thrash and abundance of crushing beatdowns will keep hardcore-heads moshing to ‘RULES’ for another 7 years at least

7 years on from the release of their last full length effort, San Francisco quintet First Blood are back with new album, ‘RULES’.

For the uninitiated, First Blood are a hardcore band whose sound straddles the fine line between hardcore and metal. A dangerous game indeed, as often metal elitists and hardcore purists have a strict, no mixing policy. Try spinkicking your way through a circle pit at a Megadeth show and you’ll likely find yourself aggressively escorted out by a gang of longhaired gentlemen twice your size; before being flung out the back of the venue into a line of 14 year olds already queuing for Dave Mustaine’s autograph. Similarly if you fancy headbanging your way through a Madball show, you shouldn’t be shocked receiving a fist to the face or getting taunted so severely that you go straight home and donate your stack of Iron Maiden t-shirts to the local charity shop.

First Blood, whilst definitely sitting more comfortably on the hardcore side of things, have managed to bridge the gap sonic-wise; and would sound just as at home supporting Lamb of God as they would sitting on a bill with Trapped Under Ice.

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‘RULES’, is a perfect display of their signature sound; consisting of 12 relentless tracks of furious metallic-edged hardcore. ‘Rules of Conviction’ leads with crushing down tempo riffing that transcends into double bass ridden two step rhythms; closing out with an atmospheric breakdown that would be a worthy soundtrack to the apocalypse. ‘Rules of Engagement’ has a beatdown so heavy that it’ll make you want to engage your sister in a fist fight and ‘Rules Meant to be Broken’ is as hard-hitting as the title suggests.

It’s not until track 7, ‘Rules of Justice’ that you’re given a breather. The track leads with an atmospheric piano section laced with an eerie sample; acting as the calm before the storm before you’re slammed headfirst into a sonic wall for the remaining five tracks.

The whole rules theme sometimes feels a little repetitive. It does tie the record together, but First Blood’s politically minded, anti-establishment messages have always cut through on their previous releases without injecting the word rules into every song.

First Blood have hardly re-invented the wheel with this record, but then again there’s no need for them to. Whilst it doesn’t quite possess the potency of previous efforts ‘Silence Is Betrayal’ and ‘Killafornia’; the hearty doses of stage-dive inducing thrash and abundance of crushing beatdowns will keep hardcore-heads moshing to ‘RULES’ for another 7 years at least.

‘RULES’ is out now via Pure Noise Records

First Blood Rules Tracklist:

1. FUCK THE RULES

2. THESE ARE THE RULES

3. RULES MEANT TO BE BROKEN

4. RULES OF LIFE

5. RULES OF CONVICTION

6. RULES OF ENGAGEMENT

7. RULES OF JUSTICE

8. RULES OF SURVIVAL

9. RULES OF FREEDOM

10. RULES OF SACRIFICE

11. RULES OF GOVERNMENT

12. RULES OF CRISIS

First Blood will tour Europe & UK with Deez Nuts and Comeback Kid in February – UK dates are below.

13th February – Mama Roux’s, Birmingham

14th February – Sound Control, Manchester

15th February – O2 Academy, London

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