Bonded by Blood

Exiled to Earth

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Bonded by Blood's sophomore album, 2010's Exiled to Earth, sees them evolving beyond their first effort's carbon-copy Exodus karaoke in order to adopt a slightly more complex brand of thinking man's thrash, akin to vintage Anthrax. Its simple math, really: in the young California quintet's parallel thrash universe, 2008 was 1985 and 2010 is 1987, get it? We thought not, and who are we kidding? The fact is, Bonded by Blood remain hopelessly trapped within the quickly wilting thrash revival, like gigantic plastic mastodons in the La Brea Tar Pits, and for all of the time invested in developing Exiled to Earth's convoluted science fiction theme (think Blade Runner meets The Matrix meets Terminator), it can only do so much to broaden or modernize the group's purist sound -- not least because Jose "Aladdin" Barrales' resolutely Baloff-inspired drunken screeching lends little, shall we say, gravitas to describing mankind's struggle for survival against (snort!) "the Crong" in the distant year four hundred billion and change. In all seriousness (no, really), none can't fault the Bonded by Blood boys' increasingly intricate and self-challenging songwriting (see "Prototype: Death Machine," the title track, etc.) and blinding instrumental synchronicity at even the highest velocities ("Genetic Encryption," the 50-second blast "Parasitic Infection," etc.), nor begrudge their boundless enthusiasm for recycling such well-loved sonic hallmarks for a new generation of headbanging kids. It's ultimately the huge amount of recycling taking place on Exiled to Earth that demands a very laissez-faire attitude not usually found within the cruelly judgmental and historically conscious heavy metal community. So, after this relative setback in their career and, much like the group's apocalyptic vision of mankind's oppressed future, the question is whether Bonded by Blood will manage to rise and defeat their personal, errrrrr, "Crong."

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