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ALBUM REVIEW: Bad Blood Rising – Santa Cruz

SANTA CRUZ have been blazing a trail in their homeland of Finland, achieving placements in the Top 40 Charts particularly reaching the dizzy heights of #3 for their most recent self titled effort. Relentless touring throughout most of 2016 and 2017 including an appearance at the prestigious Download Festival sets them in good stead for their newest upcoming album entitled Bad Blood Rising due for release on November 10th via M-Theory Audio which is set to take the world by storm.

Young Blood Rising immediately sets the tone with adrenaline fuelled guitar work and an energetic tempo to get the blood pumping. The four piece waste little time getting into the groove with edgy, solo wizardry aplenty before shifting into the anthemic ode to the musician and actor of the same name, River Phoenix which is jammed with upbeat distorted riffing, an unmistakably vintage hard rock style and catchy vocals guaranteed to be stuck on the tip of your tongue for the foreseeable future. Now SANTA CRUZ are sufficiently warmed up and firing on all cylinders they unleash the utterly infectious wall of sound known as Fire Running Through Our Veins. Saturated in raunchy, captivating lead work and gritty vocals it is so energised and invigorating that it would be criminal to leave out of their arsenal when they hit the road.

Deciding to stifle the furious pace before they go supernova Drag Me out of the Darkness provides a very endearing and addictive ballad style vibe whilst still maintaining some sharp and fierce vocal work from Archie Cruz. The inclusion of some masterfully slick dual solo work adds an extra level of proficiency to the orchestration. Following track Breathe takes a more calming and peaceful approach introduced with some tranquil acoustic guitar work and smooth whistling techniques which has all the hallmarks of a crowd swaying their arms in unison until Voice of the New Generation brings back the high intensity with powerful bass driven verses and further examples of incredibly complex sweeping from Archie and Johnny.

Back from the Dead continues the punchy rock onslaught with an ‘all killer, no filler’ attitude including the defiant statement of “Fuck Donald Trump” which is sure to turn some heads and Bad Habits Die Hard follows suit with massive hooks that posses such a raw energy and to top it off they even added a cheeky little cowbell appearance.

As you can well imagine Pure Fucking Adrenaline leaves little to the imagination with what to expect and certainly lives up to its title with a high octane bluesy vibe flowing throughout with yes you guessed it!… more mind blowing guitar virtuosity. In some cases this level of indulgence with regards to shredding could be seen as narcissistic but every bout of flamboyant showmanship is completely justified and only enhances the overall energy of the arrangements. Get Me out of California feels like a bit of a comedown in comparison with its solemn acoustic feel but it still maintains an inviting and emotive tone with a crystal clear guitar solo that ticks all the boxes and is reminiscent of the iconic work in November Rain.

As the album draws to a close River Phoenix Pt. 2 winds down the heightened emotions in a very experimental, floaty track that begins to progressively build up into an almost Eddie Van Halen’s Jump moment overlayed with effects before slowly drifting off into the airwaves.

Bad Blood Rising will grab the attention of not just the 80’s glam revival fantasists but anyone who has a love for heavy, hard hitting riffs, infectious choruses and just high tempo, energetic metal in general. SANTA CRUZ have such much determination and flair that there is no reason why they shouldn’t be able to pack out substantially sized venues night after night, pulling out performances armed to the teeth with enough pyro to heat a small village for a week. The trajectory of their momentum hints that this may come sooner rather than later if they can maintain this unrelenting intensity.

Rating: 9/10

Bad Blood Rising - Santa Cruz

Bad Blood Rising is set for release on November 10th via M-Theory Audio.

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