It’s a rare instance when an album will really speak to you. So much of music contains literal or ambiguous themes, allowing you to either take a generalised statement at face value or read into it whatever the hell you want. For instance, swathes of so-called ‘political’ bands spout lyrics so vague and pandering (“Everyone together! We’ll take over! Happiness forever!” Someone probably sung, somewhere, sometime) that only the most radicalised would get anything out of it.
Aside from Chief Keef, Give Em Blood are one of the first acts to really have a knowable message for. This comes on the track ‘Interlude’, an instrumental wankfest probably put in just to show that the group know strings beyond bottom E and A. If you persevere to the dying seconds, a female voice pops into the mix: “Hey, why you are wasting your time again? Doing silly things like this, while having me here, wasting my time too? Why don’t you care about me at all?”
Why don’t they care about the listener? Why is Give Em Blood even fucking bothering? This is the result of listening to Architects, Emmure and Asking Alexandria, then bedroom-moshing yourself to concussion. Choppy flashes of grating noise Man Is The Bastard could only dream of, a perpetual degree of nauseous unease, a lagging memory (of why you ever went into music criticism).
In any case, if this conjecture isn’t good enough for you, avoid this album because each track is overly long and recycles the same exact elements, the singing veers between too many styles too quickly, the few discernible lyrics are meaningless, too much reliance on that old beloved formula of chugging-then-sharp-chords. Even worse are the brief ambient moments so beloved of bands post-BMTH, because it’s an easy method to avoid actual songwriting. That, and probably as a swab for any crabcore kids depressed at the scene’s void.
In the words of the male speaker at the end of ‘Brackish Rain’, “what the fuck have you done?”.
Written by Fin Murphy