Review: Blistered’s The Poison of Self Confinement
Also known as: how to destroy your office in 10
steps songs that crack under 25 minutes.
One of the most rewarding aspects of obsessing about music is that rare, random discovery that manages to make your special places tingle. I had no prior knowledge of South Florida’s metallic hardcore Blistered before their most recent album, The Poison of Self Confinement, but I am extremely glad it popped up on my Spotify recommendations. This is the band’s first full-length album, following last year’s EP Soul Erosion.
In this release, Blistered behaves as an unstoppable beast that moves solely in two manners – a precise and persistent stalk or a frenzied chase. The dynamic between these two speeds is the tonic of the whole record, serving as the structure of the songs. Instead of verse/chorus/verse, most of them seem to follow a chase/stalk/maul/dismember pattern.
Album opener “Path of the Coward”, for an instance, thrives on this balance. Remember those moments in Code Orange‘s I Am King in which the bass and drums played a single, low note in unison and it felt like the ground beneath you was shattering with each hit? Well, a much similar sound starts this track, followed by a zany guitar line. Soon after, a start-stop riff briefly drops by to say “shit is just getting started”. Let the moshing commence.
These heavy bass petards are found peppered throughout the LP (“Kingdom of Traitors” and “Death at Heaven’s Doorstep”), but that is not all the bassist does. There are some really slick lines here and there, most notably towards the end of “Caustic Promise”. Rounding out the rhythm section, the drummer hits like a gritty precision boxer, with every blow landing hard and full of malice. He offers a perfectly satisfying mix of slower beatdown rhythms and faster, crusty paces. In the vocal department, things are kept simple with a harsh bark that works in tandem with the overall spirit of the release.
The guitars are easily my favorite aspect of the record – a showcase of their metal influences and a library of Riff Ov The Week contenders. Seriously, there are earworms to be found in nearly every song of this LP. “Illusion of Destiny” alternates between a mighty tremolo and a slow & melodic guitar phrase. “Into the Dying Light” has an opening riff that sounds like a call to arms. The guitar tone is really enjoyable, in both lead and rhythm guitars. The first is usually a death metal tone, while the latter is more akin to a hardcore sound. Be it start-stop, chugging, melodic or even a crossover riff found at the beginning of “Caustic Promise”, it’s always tasteful.
What prevents me from giving Blistered a perfect score on their debut is that, despite the short run time and having no filler material, there is still a sense of homogeneity in this record. I, for one, would like to see the band throw a few curveballs on the next LP, or maybe experiment with different structures and vocal styles. Still, this album is worth a thousand listens and constitutes one of the top-tier metallic hardcore records of the year, along with Xibalba‘s Tierra y Libertad, Reactions‘ Soul Witness and Harm’s Way – Rust.
The Poison of Self Confinement is a flame that burns bright and quick. Clocking in at just under 25 minutes, it is an album perhaps best experienced than actually described. Consider this a recommendation more than a review. Just be careful not to hurt anyone when you start thrashing whatever room you’re in.