Chuck Schuldiner Project

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bound in Blue

     I think it should be pretty obvious by this point that I don't like deathcore. Particularly in the underground scene where, in addition to the lack of originality attributed towards the genre, production values take a nose dive for the worse, often relying on digital EQ to boost the bass to make things sound heavier. I sort of ignored Bound in Blue for a bit because I get... "cored out", for lack of a better term. I can get sarcastic and overly judgemental when I listen to too many core bands in a short period of time. The sounds all run together, the concepts get stale, I just develop a distaste for needing to listen to a genre I dislike and attempt to write reviews that are fair to the band. Bound in Blue defies this trend, more so than any core band I've heard before. I'll admit that I'm not a core expert, I had a stint with deathcore about two years ago, and I stopped. I know names, but I don't bother looking up signed deathcore bands up because they just don't appeal to me. Regardless, Bound in Blue is an excellent group and they do core in a way I've never heard it done before.

     Bound in Blue's general sound is incontrovertibly a "-core" sound. There's obvious punk influences, there are breakdowns, there's some sweep picking, and other such material most conventional metal-heads will dismiss as trite nonsense. The thing is, Bound in Blue can use all of these elements, without needing to worry about incorporating elements of other genres, and still produce fresh, interesting material where I can't point to another band and ask "why should I listen to your music and not their music?" So why should you listen to Bound in Blue? Bound in Blue's music was quite apparently written to be music, not three minute recordings of a bunch of guys who've only played their instruments for six months trying to sound brutal. The open note chugging serves to provide a foundation for riffs and cuts on lead guitar, rather than the song's focus. Would I prefer if they delegated this task to the bass, and the bass only? Yes. But every once in a while, the rhythm guitar finds its place in the music, especially in the songs "Irreantum" and "Home Away from Home", but it works as a rhythm guitar elsewhere, just not as prominently as in those two songs. The band's use of breakdowns is confined to song outros as a means to slow the song down before killing the power. I view them less as breakdowns, than as a tool to stop instruments one at a time, so that the whole song isn't awkwardly cutting off like the song "Symmetry of Zero" by Decapitated. The four song set, as a whole, just generally has this air of control without leaving the songs vapid and devoid of feeling. In some ways Bound of Blue has a stripped down, subdued sound that doesn't get needlessly loud and crowded for the sake of producing a constant, total assault on the listener's ears.

     Instrumental prowess is the one area where I feel I can rightfully fault Bound in Blue. For whatever reason, something about their music really appeals to me as a listener. But because I'm supposed to be critical with the music that I'm reviewing (otherwise the review section of each post on the site is completely pointless), I can't just ignore a band's faults. The problem isn't that there is one note chugging or sweep picking, because thats an artistic choice on the behalf of the musician. The problem is how well Bound in Blue can play their instruments. The guitars and bass are mostly good. It never sounds like the lead guitarist is struggling to move his fingers to the right frets or that the rhythm guitarist is having a hard time maintaining a pattern. The bass guitar is a touch harder to critique, but again, the bass guitar never slips out from under the rest of the instruments when the bassist screws up and plays an off note or plucks a string too late or too early. The observable problems in the music are with the vocals and drums. The vocals, exhibiting the more egregious faults of the two, are just a bit boring and uninteresting. It seems like the vocalist just can't harness his voice's full potential and that the most that he can access is a tame, controlled, body-less shout. There's little emotion in his tone and even less energy. The drums are a little less noticeable. At some times, the drums complement the rest of what's going on in the song nicely, at other times, the drums can be a touch out of step. Not quite enough to make the songs seriously awkward and mechanical, but it takes away from the fluidity and level of coherence between the instruments. But looking at these flaws, they're pretty insignificant and small. My concern is more for Bound in Blue's future development, and their ability to branch out beyond the songs they've posted on facebook when they get signed to Arkaik Records (it would be tremendously helpful if you guys would go to Arkaik Records facebook page, like them, and tag Bound in Blue in a post recommending that Arkaik should sign them). The fact that Bound in Blue uses one note chugging and the occasional sweep concerns me because if they were comfortable with more than that, I'd expect them to bulk up their songs with more complex bass lines and guitar work. This doesn't do anything to the band now, but eventually, they're going to need to progress from what they're doing now if they have any aspirations of success as musicians.

     The recording quality on the four song set Bound in Blue has up doesn't warrant too much attention. It is a little murky and fuzzy at times, and the noise floor doesn't sound perfect. Other than that, there's very little to complain about now, and they will hopefully be moving on to work with a professional record label very soon. where the little flaws in recording quality should be sealed up to produce a sound thats more or less "faultless". That isn't to say its going to sound immaculate, but in my experience, most modern, professionally produced albums don't warrant any criticisms about sound quality, only varying levels of praise. There are exceptions of course, but this is what I've found to be true the majority of the time.

     So if you are a hardcore or metalcore fan, you should almost definitely be greatly satisfied with Bound in Blue. For everyone else tired of the -core scene, this won't radically change your opinion of the genres, but in and of itself, I think Bound in Blue's "EP" on facebook is a great little hardcore opus that everyone should listen to given its price tag of "free" to listen to the songs streaming from facebook. Definitely a band that I will be keeping an eye on, especially if they get signed to Arkaik, which you can help to happen if you just follow the instructions posted below.

     Like this facebook page, like Arkaik Records, and then tag Bound in Blue in a post on Arkaik asking them to sign Bound in Blue.


  1. Bunch of fags that's what bound in blue is -100 out of 10 worst shit I have ever heard

  2. Well it sounds like the review did what it was supposed to do if you bothered to look them up.