Sunday, May 31, 2009

Review: Blood Corps - Hollow Point (2009)

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Hollow Point

Blood Corps is a young five-piece metal outfit from Fairfax, Virginia. Although originally formed in 2006 by frontwoman Nina Osegueda and guitarist Daniel Lee, it wasn't until 2008 that the full lineup stabilized and the band headed into the recording studio to lay down the tracks for their debut demo Hollow Point. The coming and going of band members didn't stop Blood Corps from securing primo opening slots, however, which allowed them to share the stage with such metal notables as Overkill, Kamelot, Dope, and Sonata Arctica - all of which can be heard as influences on Hollow Point.

Although Blood Corps' four musicians are unquestionable masters of their instruments, it's Nina's vocal performance that is most engaging. She possesses a strong, assertive Power Metal voice that she employs to great effect whether shouting out a chorus or nailing a lofty note. There's not a lot of deviation from this style, though most tracks feature some sort of layered experimentation, but she's good enough that not a lot of variation is necessary to hold interest. "Penetrate Your Mind", the lead-off track on Hollow Point, does feature quite an atypical performance from Nina as she alternates between an eerily sweet, almost seductive (in a sadistic sort of way) delivery and an intense raging yell. She does an excellent job backing the lyrics with accurate emotion. Another instance where the vocals diverge from the standard is "Buried Alive" as Lee makes a few brief appearances as a backing vocalist, shading Blood Corps' sound with a bit of a Lacuna Coil color.

Overall, the band's sound fits squarely in the American Power Metal camp. Lee and Michael Mackert routinely lay down deep, menacing riffs over which they trade admirable solos and subtle accents. "Buried Alive" features a little more of a European influence with some swirling leads and a nice, softly distorted solo, but by and large the six strings are aggressive and meaty. The rhythm section of Devon DiGiovanni (bass) and Fester Gardner (drums) routinely turns in a flawless performance, with the added bonus of DiGiovanni's bass being a distinctive part of the mix.

For fans who like their Power Metal heavy and full of grit, Blood Corps is a band very much worth investing in. Nina's vocal ability pushes an already talented band even further up the food chain, so don't be surprised to soon find these Virginians making quite a name for themselves.

Track Listing
1Penetrate Your Mind2:43
2Death in the Hollow4:24
3Buried Alive4:19
4Into the Unknown3:32
Total Runtime14:58

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