Not short of ambition, Oldblood have put out a debut EP (four tracks and half an hour) about the horrors of nuclear weapons. I’m not going to do their exposition for them here, but there’s a story to the record and it’s hard to argue against the underlying principle that the destruction of Hiroshima in 1945 was horrifying. With that in the pocket then, what do Oldblood do with the thematic weight they’ve taken on?
Promising a crossover of the doom, post and black sound, this shows itself at first in (relatively) restrained guitar tones with extremist death and black twinned vocals. That variety of voice attacks, contributed by three quarters of the band, will carry across the EP and prove a strength for Oldblood, and is effective from the start.
My concern with anything inflecting toward black metal is that we’ll soon find any tone, or groove, lost in tremolo treble wash, and with post-metal influences in the mix the risk seems increased. However Oldblood have avoided that throughout Arms To The Sky. Whether it’s the rolling chug giving way to triumphant harmonised guitars, or fist-in-the-air gallops kicking out of the mooch of Nuclear Blues (no, not Blood Sweat and Tears) the tone is well handled between expansive and oppressive.
It’s got well-crafted songs, a beefy sound, some thematic ambition that got my head nodding…
There’s spots where I’d ask for a little more low-end in the mix, but that may just be a lack I’m looking for. Joe Clayton certainly has handled production well as ever, although the Stones From The Sky ending does seem like a compromise, given how much work Oldblood have done to make their sound their own.
It’s got well-crafted songs, a beefy sound, some thematic ambition that got my head nodding. I’ll be keeping an eye for more from Oldblood.
Scribed by: Harry Holmes