I’ve seen some bands I haven’t listened to before get chirped about on my Twitter feed, and one particular act was Brand of Sacrifice.
With a meme like that, I had to know what the fuss is about. One listen into the single “Animal” and I was instantly hooked. The mix of melody and crushing gutturals, accompanied by frenetic blast beats and tasteful usage of synth, made for a satisfying listen, to say the least. So, let’s dive into Lifeblood and see what the future of deathcore sounds like with Brand of Sacrifice’s sophomore effort.
Something I didn’t see coming is that both the band’s debut album, God Hand, Lifeblood is thematically-based on the anime Berserk. This time around, it’s focused on the downfall of protagonist Guts. Concept albums are a risk, as you have to nail the theme to its core, especially if it’s with pre-existing source material. The tale of Berserk is an emotionally-heavy one full of warfare, strife, and deceit, so it’s fitting that a brutal story is accompanied by a brutal deathcore backdrop. Lyrically, it’s accomplished in tracks like “Demon King” referencing Ganishka’s overbearing dominance, and Guts’ vengeance/suffering in “Animal”.
A common problem in albums and length is separating singles from non-singles – there’s hype built around singles but sometimes the other songs fall behind in quality/staying power. Brand of Sacrifice has some tricks up their sleeves for this, as a wide array of guest vocalists hit this album for the tracks not released yet. Frankie Palmeri of Emmure, Ben Duerr of Shadow of Intent, Eric Vanlerberghe of I Prevail, Jamie Graham of Viscera, and Tyler Shelton of Traitors. It’s reminiscent of when I covered Lost Conduit’s album with 10+ features (including Duerr and Shelton). One would think having a guest vocalist would be a prime way to promote a release, but I didn’t even know about these features until I received my review stream, so it’s a cherry-on-top addition to an already impressive album.
The production on Lifeblood cannot be ignored – it compliments Brand of Sacrifice’s bombastic demeanor with laser-precise notes, a punishing bass drum tone, concise layering of the background choral vocals/synthesizer, and everything comes together to craft a unique deathcore sound, something that’s a bit of a rarity in the genre. The incorporation of the otherworldly choir, the driving synths, and subtle melody make Brand of Sacrifice’s… brand a polished, enthralling listen.
If you know of Brand of Sacrifice, you can rest assured that the end product of Lifeblood is full of moments that throw you for a loop, give you goosebumps, and only expand the Berserk knowledge exhibited by the band. If you’re not familiar and are all ears for a newer deathcore project that ticks all the genre boxes, give Lifeblood a spin this Friday.
A press copy of Lifeblood was provided courtesy of Cosa Nostra PR.