I spent a lot of quality time with Bloodgood in the late 1980s. It was around the time that Stryper rose to fame and Christian metal exploded as a subgenre on labels like Frontline Records. I had a few friends who tried to lead me away from my evil musical ways by introducing me to these acts. (We all see how that worked out.) Many of them didn’t stick because they sounded, to me, like Christian versions of secular bands instead of original entities. A few, though, hung around. Bloodgood was one of them.
It’s been a lot of years since I listened to Bloodgood’s 1987 record Detonation, but I’d bet that I could put it on right now and remember every word and every note. They used a heavier, more aggressive approach and vocalist Les Carlsen’s rasp had a little more force to it than the angelic high notes and harmonies that many of the Christian metal acts went in for. (I’m looking at you Stryper.)
There was also a bit of a shock-rock element to their performance, as they went in for theatrics, including a bloody portrayal of the crucifixion during performances of “Crucify” from Detonation. It made some Christian groups shun the band, but added to the appeal for me.
After Detonation, things trailed off a bit for the band, with 1989′s Out of the Darkness being the only of the three records that followed to hold my attention. In 2006, however, they returned with the aid of Stryper guitarist Oz Fox, and have been playing a few shows a year. Now, they’re set to release Dangerously Close, their first studio album since 1991.
I have to admit that I chuckled a bit, as many metal fans might, when I saw the first single was titled “Lamb of God.” My thoughts immediately went to the current band of that name that’s not exactly religiously inclined. The chuckles died when I heard the driving guitar riff from Fox. It’s not quite like anything the band has done before, and yet there are traces of both the Detonation sound and some of the later more commercial fare. There’s also a very modern edge to it, too. It’s a far more vibrant song than I expected.
Carlsen, like some of the other members of the band, has noticeably aged in the video clip, but his voice still sounds great. It’s perhaps not quite as cutting as it was in his younger days, but he can still hit a high note here and there. Fox, as usual, delivers a scorching guitar solo, and of course, bassist and founder Michael Bloodgood gets a few moments to thump away immediately after.
Admittedly, it doesn’t catch me as immediately as some of the stuff on Detonation did, but it’s definitely enjoyable. I’ll be interested to hear what the rest of the album holds.