This review is dedicated to Buck Fitzpatrick, an old friend that used to relentlessly pimp Baptized in Blood to whoever would listen. This was when the band had like, 17 guitar players or something, and were a bit of a mess live. Still, he used to play “Kickin’ Ass And Takin’ The Blame” nearly every time we partied for a few months at a time, and though I was never really hooked, I can kinda see where he was coming from now.

Baptized In Blood is now comprised of five members, which seems to have tightened up their sound (as one might expect) while still bringing out their old brand of upbeat, ’80s-influenced trash/metalcore. Gutter Bound does find the band keeping true to its early roots (a few tracks from their early incarnation even appear on this disc), albeit with a much slicker and more focused presentation. The album boasts 10 tracks of upbeat, energetic riffage one could easily dub “party metal.”

Tracks like the opener, “Up Shirts Down Skirts,” carry some serious ’80s riffage, and though the risk is certainly there (as many bands have proven), it never comes off as cheesy. Instead, it fuses quite nicely with some tight metalcore-type rhythms for a really modern, fun take on a classic style. The instrumentation here is without question what makes the album so enjoyable, and on a track like “Down And Out,” it’s really able to shine. The song has a very memorable, even hooky bridge near the end that’s anchored in melody despite the lack of any kind of vocal phrasing. This isn’t to take away from the vocals here – they’re certainly what one would immediately expect after hearing opening riffs like those found here. Still, you need something backing up the barked screams to make a memorable metal album, and that’s accomplished here.

“Kickin’ Ass And Takin’ The Blame” is another scorcher (wish I’d have realized it sooner), and does a nice job of resurrecting the album after it looses some serious steam with “Destroy All Humans,” the latter seeming rather juvenile and unfocused when put beside some of the better numbers like the former. The closer is another blazer that finds the drumming, as it has throughout the record, really holding things together and driving the song forward. The track features a pretty tasteful breakdown before the track ultimately goes out with a fist-pumping outro.

At 10 tracks, this is a solid metal offering – a full length that doesn’t run the risk of getting tiring. I’d initially written these guys off after seeing them a few years back when their lineup could’ve been a baseball team, but as it turns out, you were right, Buckley. Cheers, buddy.  [ END ]

Track Listing:

01. Up Shirts Down Skirts
02. Go It Alone
03. Lightning Speed
04. Down And Out
05. Next Stop Hollywood
06. Blue Oyster
07. RATTtails and Rainbows
08. Destroy All Humans
09. Kickin’ Ass And Takin’ The Blame
10. Only Time Will Tell

Run Time: 44:26
Release Date: 05.16.2009