We’ve got an early challenger for best British album of the year from Harrogate heavyweights Blood Youth, who release the huge Beyond Repair next Friday (7 April). The band’s debut album sees the trio make a solid statement of intent to their being the next big thing in British metal.
However, it could all have been very different as, prior to starting the band, frontman Kaya Tarsus was a long way away from being a rockstar – as he puts it, fleeting between dead-end jobs in various countries. In his words: “I ended up in an office in Barcelona, depressed and very alone, until one day I received an unexpected Skype call from Chris (Pritchard, guitarist) asking if I wanted to come back and start a band. Immediately my desire to start writing came back, the flame was reignited.”
Thankfully he did and, in the near-three years since, Blood Youth have honed a wealth of cathartic material from their collective anxieties, including superb debut EP Inside My Head and follow-up effort Closure one year ago, and supporting the likes of Architects, Beartooth and While She Sleeps. But the bar has been raised significantly with the upcoming release of Beyond Repair.
In their words, this album sees Blood Youth get “real angry.” Tarsus reveals: “These songs are about how we deal with anger in the modern age. When I was writing I became fascinated with heartbreak and how everybody deals with this trauma in their own way. Many tend to numb the pain in an attempt to forget, instead of facing it head on, this is something I am guilty of myself. We were aiming to create something very aggressive but very real. With Beyond Repair, I believe we have achieved just that.”
And they’re not wrong, this debut full-length record spews anger at every turn. The intense brutality, aggression and sheer angst, fused with brilliant musicality, filling these tracks is enough to have the hairs on your arms standing on end.
The album kicks off with a low, building guitar riff in the intro to Making Waves, but soon smacks you in the face with a big smash of guitar and intense first verse. Big screamed vocals follow, including a big scream of “Because we’re all so fucking scared to be lonely,” along with the contrast of melodic clean vocals through the chorus. A cry of “nothing feels the same” brings the track to an end.
What I’m Running From flows on from the opener, kicking off with a mass of palm-muted chords and mini riffs, which are blown away by a barrage of screamed vocals beginning with the opening line “I wasn’t used to second best and I could tell there was nothing left” supported by some insanely good driving drums. Clean vocals follow in the chorus, with a cool lingering guitar riff and, just when it sounded a little happier, Tarsus screams “Makes me feel like I’m better off dead” and more wild metal ensues, followed by a scream of ‘bleugh’ that leads into some huge guitar chords and more massive vocals.
Next up Savanna kicks off with a cool riff and big screamed vocals, followed by an awesome high-pitched chorus with a really funky riff underneath.
But the heaviness stakes are raised even further (yes, really) as we step into the body of the album. Parasite is simply an incredible track of brutal intensity that oozes metallic brilliance – it makes you want to mosh up and down, scream your lungs out and bang your head in time with the pounding low guitar riffs and wild drums, all at the same time. I can’t imagine how moshpits up and down are going to survive this insanity.
The track opens up with a repetitive a reverby noise then a repetitive guitar riff, a huge scream then jumps into a heavier version of the riff and massive smashes of drums and cymbals with a high-pitched guitar scream that leads into the opening verse. Huge screamed vocals follow, then a big chorus begins with the line “This is the year of self-destruction.” The relentless heavy riff is absolutely awesome, especially with the random swift key jumps and when combined with the higher pitched siren-esque guitars that enter at random. This track kind of reminds me of Spineshank at their finest – which can only be a good thing in my book.
Following such a brutal fix of metalcore you’d be forgiven for wanting a break, but you won’t get it in the form of next track I Remember. It opens up with a bit of guitar then heavy bass and a big guitar and bass-off, with big drums leading them on. The verse kicks off with big screamed vocals and the not overly cheery lyrics “It’s not a question, where has humanity gone, stuck here like a world without a sun,” before giving way to a clean, singalong but equally lamenting chorus. The second rendition of the chorus builds up to a heavier blitz, led by the lyrics “Building myself back up, but I don’t give a fuck,” then a huge blood-curdling scream to bring the track to an end.
Next up Reason To Stay opens with a clean guitar riff that leads you into expecting something a little lighter. But you’d be wrong. Huge screamed break-neck vocals follow, but then there’s a truly deliciously melodic chorus over the top of the initial riff, which again features far from cheery lyrics: “Let me start off by saying sorry, I know I never even called, I’m out of luck, Don’t get me started, Guess I never knew it all.” More heavy vocals follow, with some random electric noises thrown in for good measure.
The huge, brutal metal tracks continue, and it’s no exaggeration to say that every single song is superb, including the big riffs on Pulling Teeth, full-on intensity of Buying Time.
Penultimate track Bless is one of the standout tracks on an album pumped full of absolute bangers. The opening funky little riff and cry of “Forget your sympathy I can live for myself,” then a heavier version of the riff and a huge scream is enough to grab your attention from whatever else you’re doing and hooks you into the following big opening verse and melodic chorus, with a huge sounding snare drum poking its head through the clean vocals. High-pitched riff, a guitar slide follow before an even bigger rendition of the clean chorus bring the song to an end.
Closing track Man Made Disaster brings the album to a fitting end. A blast of cymbals leads in a flicking guitar riff underneath some fast-paced vocals and, then a cry of “Man made disaster” is followed by a few calls of “hey hey hey” and a wild, fast-paced guitar riff. Chugging chords, supported by big cymbals follow as we drop into a dark musical interlude then a relative moment of bliss and calm, a drum roll and prolonged drum loop continue to bring the album to an end.
Beyond Repair is a fantastic debut full-length album that certainly puts Blood Youth at the very top of the UK’s long list of up-and-coming metal bands. Tarsus’ vocals are huge, Prtichard delivers track after track of massive riffing, and it’s all held together by the wonderful drums of Sam Hallett, which you appreciate more and more with every listen.
You have just over a week to get yourselves ready for this fix of metalcore at its finest, with Beyond Repair out next Friday (7 April). For now, keep track of Blood Youth on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and prepare your ears for the onslaught in all the usual places.