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Bloodgood: Dangerously Close

Twenty two years is a long time in anyone's book, so to find a new album from Christian Rockers Bloodgood after that length of time is as shocking as it is welcome. Between 1985 and 1991 the band, led by bassist Michael Bloodgood and vocalist Les Carlsen released six hard hitting yet melodic albums; proving that not all Christian Rock was of the AOR variety, even if Bloodgood always relied on strong melodies first and foremost. Over the years the band have continued to perform and release live material, before using the currently en vogue fan funding method to bring Dangerously Close into being. During that time Bloodgood have worked with numerous drummers and guitarists, so it is pleasing that for this comeback, fret burner Paul Jackson and tub thumper Kevin Whisler are both on board, with Stryper guitarist Oz Fox also contributing.

The album begins with the simple acoustic led "Lamb Of God", and a lyric that illustrates a similar ethos to that which the band has always been known for, with a surprisingly honest take on Christianity and the world being this band's way forward. It is a low key beginning and one not really stepped up with the thick, deliberate stomp and riff of "Run Away", which leads into a Sabbath like area. So it is the rolling tribal drums and Saxon like calling riff of "Child On Earth" which really kicks things off proper, with the more up and at 'em attack a sudden relief after such an unusually slow paced beginning. The huge vocals and staccato guitar bursts of "Child..." also lead us into something more akin to what you'd expect from Bloodgood and this song is a real statement that BG are back. "I Will" however slows things down again, but this time there's a Cheap Tricky, Beatles like vibe, Carlsen changing tack from his aggressive vocal approach, to turn in a quite superb performance of melody and restraint.

As though to emphasise this album's slow start further, "Bread Alone" hits home hard through another mid-paced, but more light on its feet riff, "I Can Hold On" using a similar attack with equal effect. However it isn't until the groovin' pulse of "Man In The Middle" before things really begin to hit top gear, the almost early W.A.S.P. like "Crush Me", uptempo swirl of "In The Trenches" and closer "The Word" (a European bonus track), which positively throbs with danger, where Bloodgood really announce their return.

Jackson and Fox shine throughout, their intricate and clever guitar work convincing, even when the songs themselves don't quite hit the heights, while their performances as the album heads towards its conclusion are simply stunning. Behind the mic, Carlsen also leaves little doubt that he can still cut it, his voice obviously aged from this band's previous output, but the way he handles the high notes and powers through the low illustrates he's fared far, far better than many a more celebrated singer.

Dangerously Close is a good return from a much underrated and underappreciated band and one which fans of Bloodgood will embrace whole heartedly. It's just such a shame that the best tracks all seem weighted towards the back end of this album, meaning an initial feeling of being underwhelmed is soon erased, but you do have to stay with it as the album settles in over its first few listens. The effort however is well worth it.

Track Listing
1. Lamb of God
2. Run Away
3. Child on Earth
4. I Will
5. Bread Alone
6. Pray
7. I Can Hold On
8. Run the Race
9. Father Father
10. Man in the Middle
11. Crush Me
12. In the Trenches
13. The Word (bonus track)

Added: December 4th 2013
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Bloodgood Online
Hits: 2309
Language: english

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