At its purest, there is little that can match the visceral thrill and empowering spirit of hardcore. As front-man of New York City hardcore kings Cro-Mags, this is something John Joseph knows very well, and with Up In Arms, he and his Bloodclot compatriots deliver a furious collection that hits hard on every level. "In this band we're doing what each of us have always done: give it our all," he states plainly. "We work hard, and we have a lot to say. Look around the planet - people are fed up with the corrupt ruling class. They destroy the planet and kill millions for profit, and the formula for our response is simple: Anger + applied knowledge = results. Don't just bitch. Change it."
The results reflect the roots and passions of the individual members. Danzig/Murphy's Law guitarist Todd Youth was the first piece of the puzzle. "We've always talked about doing this record together, Todd had songs written and I had notebooks full of lyrics. In late September 2015, I went out to LA to do a triathlon and injured my calf muscle, so I couldn't race, and Todd said he could get some studio time. So, we went in and cut the demo. While there are things we may perceive as a negative in our lives, in fact the universe has a bigger plan, and that experience ultimately resulted in the record." Having been friends with Queens Of The Stone Age and Danzig powerhouse drummer Joey Castillo for three decades, the two musicians had long admired each other's work, and their collaboration has been a long time coming. Following Castillo's suggestion of bringing in Nick Oliveri (Queens Of The Stone Age/The Dwarves) to handle bass duties, the lineup was complete. The songs that comprise Up In Arms manifested after the quartet plugged in and let the music speak for them. "We didn't decide to try to play anything, these are the songs that happened when we started jamming, and I love this band because there are no egos involved. Our goal is to make the best music possible, period. I love it when those guys contribute with melodies, etc., and I've even helped with some of the arrangements. Because we all think alike, our lyrics deal with the issues of the day, and that makes for better songs."
Every track on Up In Arms lives up to the rallying cry of the album's title - the bursts of high energy hardcore act as the perfect accompaniment to Joseph setting his sights on injustice and the seemingly endless flaws of the contemporary world. The breakneck thrashing of "Slow Kill Genocide" is an anthem for everyone sickened by those responsible for "killing the planet and all its inhabitants through industry and war. They're fucking maniacs and must be stopped." The suitably titled "Manic" attacks with bared fangs, Joseph making it clear that you can only push someone so far before they will react with violence - a call to arms for the disenfranchised who want tomorrow's world to be better than today's. Tracked at NRG in Los Angeles, the raw, old-school production that leaps out from the speaker comes courtesy of producer Zeuss (Hatebreed, Revocation), and the record was mixed by Kyle McAulay at NRG. From the moment the opening title track explodes to life, it's clear that everyone involved is having a blast and playing from the heart, and that this is no frills / no bullshit music at its most passionate - every song evoking mental images of utter chaos in a heaving mosh pit.
For anyone approaching the album for the first time, Joseph has only this to say: "Turn the volume way the fuck up!" And with plans to tour everywhere, Bloodclot will be getting in a lot of faces in 2017 and beyond. "We are already writing material and the next album is in the works. But, for now, all we want is to hit the stage to support 'Up in Arms', and every single night leave every ounce of ourselves up there."
Up In Arms
Kill The Beast
Soldiers In The New Babylon
Slow Kill Genocide
Slipping Into Darkness
Life As One
You'll Be The Death Of Me
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