Some things come, some things go. A few of those come back. Thrash came back.
And Bonded by Blood rode in with it, proudly touring a belter of an album.
Oh, and I don’t mean the ‘carbon copy thrash’ that a few of the thrash primogenitors tried to recently foist off on us either.
No, I mean ‘the good stuff’.
Thrash you can listen to at the ‘wrong’ ten o’clock. Thrash with ideas: thrash that plans, thrash that can dream up whole worlds.
Bonded by Blood aren’t about how governments will fuck us over, how corporations will destroy the world, and how, most of the time, your parents will be unreasonable.
Let’s face it, we ALL own THAT record, and it’s kinda dull, and it’s kinda broken.
And its NOTHING like the new Bonded by Blood record: ‘Exiled to Earth’.
THAT would be an album about fending off the alien hordes in the distant future. Not strictly a problem most of us have to deal with on a daily basis, more a problem most of us would LIKE to deal with.
Bonded by Blood: adding variety, bringing the fun.
At this years Bloodstock festival, during a very rare moment of sunshine, SonicAbuse got to chat with Jose ‘Aladdin’ Barrales, Bonded by Bloods hyper-enthusiastic lead singer. Lucky really – his Californian exuberance HAS to be witnessed in the sunshine. It’s just the best way.
So we took full advantage and discussed the thrash resurgence, with the person who has the best view of the pit.
SonicAbuse – How do you feel the new Album has progressed from your debut?
Jose – I think the debut is a really energetic, in your face thing. Now, I’m not saying the new album isn’t, but it’s a little bit more mature, and a little bit more technical than our last attempt. It still has the same ‘feeling’ that ‘Feed the Beast’ did, but it takes it to a new level.
SA – Producing a concept album – particularly a thrash concept album, as your second effort is a very brave move, what appealed to you about doing that?
Jose – Well, it wasn’t ‘planned out’, we were writing for our second album, and we wanted something that’s not like ‘Feed the Beast’. We were just writing all kinds of music, and initially it was just supposed to be one song, about this concept, and we just went CRAZY with it. It was me and the bassist, Jerry, and we were like ‘This is a really cool story, we should just make it a whole album’ and we asked the rest of the guys, and they were like ‘Go crazy with it, do whatever you guys wanna do with it’. We did, everybody enjoyed it, it’s cool, and that’s what ‘Exiled to Earth’ is now.
SA – So, you say you started off with 1 song, and then it grew into a larger concept, was there any specific inspiration behind that?
Jose- I think it was just Jerry and I watching a bunch of B-horror movies, and sci-fi movies, I mean we’re big fans of Terminator, and old b-movies that nobody’s ever heard of like ‘Mandroid’ and ‘Chopping Mall’; stuff like that, it’s really cheesy, but we’re really into that stuff, and when you’re on tour and you’ve got nothing to do, you watch those movies you end up going ‘Man, these are really cool, BUT, what if we wrote a WHOLE album around one?’ And, well, we did!
SA- ‘Exiled to Earth’ has some very distinctive artwork, could you tell us a little bit more about that? Who created it?
Jose – Well, it was this good guy called Reid Southen, he’s never done album artwork before; he’s done comic books, stuff for video games – ‘Halo’, stuff like that. When we came up with the concept, we said we needed something that represents this concept, and we need someone that could do a sci-fi-ish thing, rather than ‘Oh, there’s a skull, there’s a this or a that, and, hey – this guys on fire…’ so we needed to find someone that represents our concept well, and we went for a search for that. We were reading the book ‘World War Z’, and there’s and illustration in there, we googled that guy, and that guy led us to the guy we have now. We just contacted him, and he was like ‘Wow, this is right up my alley: love the story, love everything you guys are talking about’. We gave him the storyline, he came up with something, and we absolutely loved it: the first thing that came up, and we were just like ‘Wow – THIS is it, THIS is what we wanted to have on the album’. And, well, the rest is history!…
SA – So, are you guys comic book fans as well then?
Jose – I LOVE comic books, I’m a big Marvel fan. Actually, soon, I’m getting a Silver Surfer tattoo, because that’s my favourite comic book ever. It’s mainly me and Alex, our guitar player who are the main comic book nerds: I’ve attended Comic Con, in San Diego, almost every year – I couldn’t go this year, but every year I attend, and I always go fancy dress. I’m the biggest comic book nerd you’ll find – you find the definition of ‘Comic book nerd’, you’ll find me!
SA – Did the comic world have any influence on your music?
Jose – Definitely – this album’s about aliens coming down here and what not. There’s a little bit of a Silver Surfer story in there, but our bassist is also into conspiracy theories, we mixed everything together, and that’s what we came out with.
SA – Have you got any thoughts about the current boom in the thrash scene?
Jose – I think it’s amazing: we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the boom. When we started, we didn’t really think about it – we were just five guys trying to play some kind of metal. Around our town, there was nothing like the metal we were playing – everyone else was playing more ‘modernish’ metal, or more hardcore, and we weren’t really into that. It’s good to see that Thrash metal, nowadays, is getting healthy again, and you see lots of kids getting into it again, and ragin’ on stage for every band. There’s lots of bands we’ve made friends with over the years like Gama Bomb, Warbringer, Fueled by Fire or Evile – Bands we love and share the same interests with. It’s really cool to see all these kids raging – when we started, all the people that came to the bars we were playing were, well, older people going ‘YEAH – we love this kind of music’, but now, to see all these younger people raging to your music is amazing. I love the boom, and I love that people are getting into the thrash metal again.
SA – Do you feel that the thrash scene’s got a similar vibe to it as the older one did?
Jose – You know – I wouldn’t really know, since I wasn’t born then, and didn’t go through it, but I think we have that sort of camaraderie, of all of us being that ‘base union of thrash metal’: of young guys trying to spread the word of thrash and holding the flag.
SA – So what do Bonded by Blood bring to the current thrash scene?
Jose – There’s different things – I myself come from a punk background: before Bonded by Blood I was really into, and still am into, a lot of punk bands. All I did before that was a lot of crossover and punk bands. Our guitarist is really into the shreddier stuff, those kind of roots, and bands like Dream Theatre, Nevermore. And we kind of balance that ‘RAAARRRGH’ aggression of hardcore punk with the shreddy background they have.
SA – How does it feel to be touring with Exodus?
Jose – We’ve played with them before, but to do a whole tour – ‘WOW, ARE YOU SERIOUS???’… I mean Gary Holt’s the one that put us on this bill, so its, just a massive honour.
SA – How does it feel to be playing Bloodstock?
Jose – Ah man – it’s an honour! It’s our first time playing Bloodstock, and we’re playing the main stage! Yeah it was a little bit early, but people were raging at 10 in the morning, I was like ‘Wow – are you serious?’ At that time, I would be asleep, but people are actually coming and having this whole ‘union of metal vibe’. It’s a feeling that’s out of this world. You don’t really have that in the States, so it’s…. it’s…. it’s really cool.