The Blood Brothers
Young Machetes


3.0
good

Review

by hykinix USER (9 Reviews)
February 28th, 2007 | 27 replies | 2,413 views


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Compelling and frustrating; a hybrid of their former works into a collective album that bugs me but makes me smile...The flaws don't outweigh the good, but the flaws are still too big for a band as ingenious as this.

1 of 1 thought this review was well written

There was a time when I was perplexed by this record so much so that I refused to listen to half of the songs.

My own growth between that time to now has been great as a product of simply getting older. In addition, with The Blood Brothers being my favourite band, I know from their prior records that nothing they do is easy to like.

There were the obvious songs on Young Machetes such as "We Ride Skeletal Lightning" a chilling trip through a bizarre choice of chords and irritatingly shafted breakdown (yelling half-assed instead of their signature screams which they related back to very little on this record) and "Set Fire to the Face on Fire" which is the only song that I could see being placed on their 2003 release, "Burn Piano Island, Burn".

Now, allow me to repeat myself:

The Blood Brothers are my favourite band. They are my favourite; amongst all else, and this means that as an avid listener it was and is my duty to defend any and all aspects of the band. However, as a reviewer I am supposed to remain neutral in such affairs that would signify obvious bias. And because I am big fan, it is also my duty to ensure that justice is done to the album. Now that some time has gone by since the release, I can really sit down and give example to why this record did and didn't work.

Young Machetes is at times a signature failure for the band. This album is a bridge between "Burn Piano Island Burn" and "Crimes" both of which took on very different styles. An attempt to harness all of their collective inspiration onto this 15 track disc succeeded greatly at some points and failed at others, these nuances ruined what could have otherwise been a polished record.

While BPIB had striven to create a fast paced roller coaster of noise and insanity, Crimes delved deeper into the roots of some of their influences such as David Bowie and the result was an album that left people confused and outraged by the shift in styles that, frankly, depicted the band as 'less intense,' 'sellouts' while laying claims that they had lost their touch and whimped out.

Crimes was a necessary album created to implement any musical qualms the band had about their former works. On BPIB there were songs like "I Know Where the Canaries and Crows Go," with insane breakdowns and haunting melodies filled with underlying chaos. Crimes created chilling ballads reminiscent of old horror films, where Johnny unveiled a brand new set of notes unreached by Justin Timberlake, and Jordan tried his hand at singing and harmonizing.

Young Machetes is the gap, the transition previously unaccounted for between BPIB and Crimes. It is the lost selection of tracks that were supposed to ease listeners from BPIB to Crimes. Why they decided to merge the two styles now is beyond me. I among others would have envisioned this record before hearing it as either the band refining Crimes with more solidity, or returning to their frantic days of BPIB or maybe even "March On Electric Children." Quite frankly? It isn't.

Really, the more I think about it; there are songs I like a lot here and songs I dislike strongly to the point where it pains me because of the fact that I anticipated this record so greatly. Still, for every good song, I have to remember that "Set Fire to the Face on Fire" IS good, but is not as good as the worst of BPIB.

My biggest qualm about the album is Jordan (Cody's increasingly simplistic guitar in some songs is not as alarming because of his creativity; but really hurts their image of complexity they developed years ago). What happened to his vocals? They were once raw, unrefined, unscathed blade-like roars that rivaled the likes of the most metal bands on the market. Crimes saw the beginning of the digression from his more shrill vocals to his slowly more melodic ones (toned down most likely to fit better with the 'true front man' Johnny Whitney). On this record, every scream he does begins as a scream and always ends of with an odd yelling note. Listen to the atrocious "Johnny Ripper, Stevie Ray Henderson" which a Jordan solo track. Some people really like it, I hate it because it builds up to nothing and features some of his most half-assed vocals which are apparent on most of the songs regardless.

Crimes was good as a soft album because everybody knew they weren't trying to change pop into metal. Listeners knew it was an experiment and interpreted it as such. Young Machetes is supposed to harp back to their earlier days (as said by the band) but instead just comes off as a less intense, less riveting, less unpredictable version of BPIB. They throw in songs that are intentionally melodic such as tracks 7-9 (Spitshine Your Black Clouds, 1,2,3,4 Guitars, Lift the Veil Kiss the Tank).

Spitshine Your Black Clouds works. It has melody and a breakdown that is better fitted with the yells Jordan issues than screams - the only place where his new vocal tactics work for me. 1,2,3,4 Guitars has fun moments, but the build up is too long and too lacking in substance to be deemed a good song. Lift the Veil Kiss the Tank has its moments, but the song has received a lot more hype than I believe it deserves. I didn't begin to like the band because they could harmonize and end the song with repetitive guitar riffs. I liked them because they were unconventional. If anything, Young Machetes is as marketable as Alexisonfire.

The fair majority of Young Machetes? Many songs really do work (songs like Rat Rider comprised of a lot of very high pitched singing which somehow hits me as hard as Johnny's screams) but there are those that render the record imperfect for its class (more than imperfect; almost annoying). There are songs that make it appear as though it is nothing more than a failed attempt at recreating a sound they've basically abandoned (the sound that got them where the are) and songs that let me know that they're never going back to the days where shivers went up my spine when I heard them scream "BURN PIANO ISLAND, BURN!" in perfect high pitched harmony.

Young Machetes is good, a bland stamp of good. It has songs that allow me to dance. It has songs that I scream and sing along to. But if I pair it beside their previous works, it is an album that bothers me. For a band that became so great only to degenerate into a group where I could actually expect with confidence what was to come next? I don't know. It's a shame.

I listen to this album still; but it has ceased to grab my absolute attention like their former works. Get this album if you are a fan. There will be songs to add to your favourites bin, but there will be songs you skip almost every time (the first record of theirs that has skip-able songs). With a measure of about half the songs being good, and half being average, bad, or good with mixtures of bland in them, the record falls short of greatness but is still a record far surpassing that of most bands trying to mimic the same bridge between pop and hardcore.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Dulcinea
February 28th 2007



181 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

good review but this album is baaaad

trustxdialect
February 28th 2007



1502 Comments


This comes off very fanboyish, even though you claim to digress at the beginning of the review. And calling the songs "track seven", etc. makes it seem like you don't even have the actual copy, but you downloaded it without first getting the track names. Pretty bi-polar as well. You contradict yourself, and I suppose that's the point, but you don't really figure out which you want more before you figure "Hell, this is my favorite band, I'll just give it a 4 even if I am disappointed."

You could do much better on this review. It'd be nice to see a Blood Brothers fan rip this apart, especially if that's really how they feel about it.

hykinix
February 28th 2007



187 Comments


Fair comment; but I bought the first copy of this from the store.

Fanboyish? I watched for that...Because I stated clearly they were my favourite but tried to retain professionalism. Of course, the reader knows better than me, so I'll see if I can tone that down.

The 4 was considered, actually; not just tossed onto the review. The Blood Brothers didn't make a bad record here, they made a record that was not up to their own standards. In comparison to other records trying to bridge the same style, this is among the better albums.

Didn't tear it up? I suppose I elaborated too much on Jordan and not enough on the rest of the music.

Dulcinea
February 28th 2007



181 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

i think that trustxdialect is being far too picky especially since this is only your third review

trustxdialect
February 28th 2007



1502 Comments


The 4 was considered, actually; not just tossed onto the review. The Blood Brothers didn't make a bad record here, they made a record that was not up to their own standards. In comparison to other records trying to bridge the same style, this is among the better albums.


GOOD. That's a great point and a worthy argument. Put it into the review and it'd be presented as more thought-out.


edit: @dulcinea: I didn't say it wasn't a good review, just that all my points still stand. He's got a knack for it, and I'm just trying to help.This Message Edited On 02.28.07

hykinix
February 28th 2007



187 Comments


I don't consider TrustxDialect to be picky. My craft would never grow if I received consistent praise all the time.

Also, I've edited the review. A re-read would be great if you have the time (TrustxDialect).

I didn't understand how I was being fanboyish until I read back and saw how many times I said "this is bad...But good at times!"

I think the edited review is a more honest interpretation free of bias.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
February 28th 2007



16083 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You're a good writer, but you need a better sense of what paragraphs do. Its not like "oh this isn't exactly the train of thought this sentence had; let me make a new paragraph." It's okay to stray a bit.
And I still stick to my conclusion that half of this album is brilliant, and half of it sucks. And its a pretty even amount of BPIB-ish stuff and Crimes-ish stuff on both sides (although Crimes is way better than BPIB).

hykinix
February 28th 2007



187 Comments


Paragraph structure, eh? Yeah...I have a tendency to write as though I'm speaking (as you can see by the comma before the 'eh' in this same post) and break up paragraphs based on my train of thought. It's a flaw I'm working on, a nitpick that I overlook too often.

Thank you for noticing though. I'm not trying quite hard enough apparently. Also, I've read your review as well and agree on several points. I'd say half is good and half is bad as well. But for this band half an album of bad songs is far too many.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
February 28th 2007



16083 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

IMO they need to go right back to what they were doing with Crimes. While I enjoy some of their stuff (I actually think "Rumours Laid Waste" blasts any of their first 3 albums) from before that, I think they make a much better pop band who occasionally has a freak out moment.

trustxdialect
February 28th 2007



1502 Comments


Good, very good.

/editedThis Message Edited On 02.28.07

Cadaveric
February 28th 2007



152 Comments


Illuvatar, you like Crimes better? I liked BPIB but i hated crimes with a passion. idk, i haven't really given crimes much of a chance. were you blown away first listen or did it take time to sink in?

The Jungler
February 28th 2007



4827 Comments


I kind of liked Crimes, but not really enough to check out this, especially if Iluvatar (my source on post-hardcore) doesn't like it as much.This Message Edited On 02.28.07

hykinix
February 28th 2007



187 Comments


Oops! I was actually about the change the rating in accordance with the changes made in the review.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
February 28th 2007



16083 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Crimes did grow on me a lot over time, but I liked it on first listen. Some of the middle songs kind of drag because 1-4 and 9-13 really are where the album is at (in relation to Crimes, Cadaveric).
This is a good album Jungler, its just really inconsistent. And I don't know if they're exactly post-hardcore, either...they're more of a noise-y hardcore band who has a bunch of weird poppy influences.

hykinix
February 28th 2007



187 Comments


Crimes did have to sink in for me. And Iluvatar, I have to disagree on some points. I'd have to say that 1, 3-6, and 8-11 are the best (devestator is fun as well, but I'm just not a fan of the tribal chant) and I just can't comprehend the love for Trash Flavored Trash.This Message Edited On 02.28.07

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
February 28th 2007



16083 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Trash Favored Trash, I was just including it for ease hahah.
I think the -ator duo are perfect together. They come after "Wolf Party" though which after "Love Rhymes..." is my favorite song on that album.
To maybe guide discussion somewhat back here, I can't understand why you dont like "Lift the Veil, Kiss the Tank." The build up is perfect, and while the repeated guitar note in the bridge can get annoying, its an awesome vocal performance.

hykinix
February 28th 2007



187 Comments


In discussion with peers, they're most baffled by my distaste for Lift the Veil, Kiss the Tank.

It's just so...Bouncy? It's like a less haunting version of Live at the Apocalypse Cabaret in terms of song structure at least.

I've come to expect breakout moments from the band. They do it in 1,2,3,4 Guitars, Spitshine Your Black Clouds, Giant Swan, etcetera, and I just feel as though instead of the song building up to something, it boils down to some strange chant ending where they play out the 'whoa whoa whoa's' for the umpteenth time.

trustxdialect
February 28th 2007



1502 Comments


You make such a more powerful argument in the comment section than you do the actual review.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
February 28th 2007



16083 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Well gathering from the fact discussion seems to be his strong point, that makes sense.

The Jungler
February 28th 2007



4827 Comments


[quote=Iluvatar]This is a good album Jungler, its just really inconsistent. And I don't know if they're exactly post-hardcore, either...they're more of a noise-y hardcore band who has a bunch of weird poppy influences.[/quote]Meh, you still know much more on the subject than I do.
Maybe I will check some of the tracks on this though, next time I get a craving for Blood Brothers that Love Rhymes.. can't satisfy.




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