Album Review: Oldblood — “Arms to the Sky”

A blinding flash of light scans across the sky, arriving with it, an explosion of heat so intense that destruction ensues immediately, leaving only smoke in its wake.  London’s Oldblood released their debut EP, Arms to the Sky which is themed around the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945.  There is most certainly a dark, crushing, heaviness to this album given the subject matter that is reflected both in the lyrics and music.  Arms to the Sky is a skillfully done production that is powerful, moving, gritty, and brings so much intense blackened doomy goodness to one four-track EP.

The story begins in the opening track “Kuebiko” which starts quietly but ominously with a single reverberating electric guitar, a moment of silence, and then bursts into powerful riffs and deep growls.  Higher pitched screams are also introduced, for a short moment, adding to the intensity of sounds and adding a sense of urgency.  There are a few moments of instrumental breaks throughout the track, featuring a haunting electric guitar melody that is repeated.  A longer instrumental passage is heard a little over halfway through the song that continues through to the end, showcasing heavy guitar and blast beat drumming.  This may be my favorite song on Arms to the Sky as it captured my attention very strongly and quickly and the guitar melody stuck with me, even days after listening.

The following track, “Nuclear Blues” starts with some radio tuning and static until a simple strumming guitar is heard, cymbal heavy drums are introduced, and an almost siren-like guitar melody rings out.  The pace is marching, warning, until the growling vocals are introduced bringing a slower, steady, doom tempo.  The variety in pace continues throughout with sounds and melodies that are at times jarring, at times crushing, and eventually break into a fast-paced storm of howling and screeching vocals, furious drumming, and crushing guitar. The remaining two tracks have very eerie, mellow openings, that later break into higher intensity instrumentation.  Both tracks feature the vocals more heavily as they scream out above the brutal riffs.  The EP closes with an eerie power chord and heartbeat like drumming.

Oldblood

Arms to the Sky was a bit challenging to write about.  The subject matter is so heavy and upsetting, but the music is really well done.  I almost feel a little guilty enjoying and vibing with EP.  The variety in tempos throughout each track makes for an interesting listen and aids in telling the story.  This is a very promising debut from Oldblood.  I am eager to see what the band creates next and am sure it will be a storm of sounds as well as emotions in another compelling release.

Angela


Arms to the Sky is available now on the band’s Bandcamp page.  For more information on Oldblood, visit their official website.

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