"There's an excitement here you can't get with other bands. We take what we do seriously; nail you with modern thrash elements but still pull some fuckin' weird shit out of our heads.”
Baptized In Blood guitarist Josh Torrance doesn't jest.
Influenced by everything from Gothenburg to glam—as long as it's distorted—this London, Ontario-based five-piece runs the metallic gamut, creating a sound that is technically-inspired yet groove oriented and anthemnic in the same throw. Baptized In Blood are keepers of a sonic singularity that has established them as one of modern metal's most forthright, furious and frenetic heavy music bands to date, an aural prowess and thunderous dominance perfectly encapsulated on the band's sophomore effort/Roadrunner Records debut Baptized In Blood.
A collection of ravenously obliterating yet sonically masterful and provocative tunes,Baptized In Blood assures that while these men may only have just over a half-decade of experience under their belts, those countless hours of rehearsals, refinement and devastating performances (blood, sweat and tears) are never in vain. It prods one to wonder exactly how a band poised to realign the state of Great White metal forms in the first place.
“Boredom,” chuckles Fendley, noting how the absence of distraction—namely one particular sport circa 2004—resulted in a unified commitment to decimate the barriers of metal. “It was actually by chance. We were talking at the bar about how we should start a band since there was no hockey that year. Everybody piped up about the parts they wanted to do and it was done. We started writing songs and playing shows.”
Immediately packing venues thanks to both their unadulterated girth and various foundations in the local scene, Baptized In Blood quickly became a formidable endeavour. Issuing both an independent EP and full-length in expedient succession garnered the band an even stronger fan base, with the quintet's sincerity, hard work and endurance eventually commanding the attention of Roadrunner Records, a home where Baptized In Blood's diversity and devotion has resulted in their explosive eponymous affair.
To that extent, Baptized In Blood finds its namesake outfit striving to offer newfound grace, attitude and attack to metal via the aforementioned spirited enthusiasm and borderline-dichotomous influences. Heavily inspired by diverse aspects of thrash metal, punk and classic rock, Baptized In Blood offers a hard edge bolstered by both communicable melodies and outright pummeling amplitude.
“There are the straight-up screamers who take it very seriously and have that tough guy, 'I'm gonna try to kill you' atmosphere in their music,” notes Torrance. “But you have the opposite end of the spectrum where bands play the same type of stuff but have the extremely clean singing. We're right in the middle of that. Johl's screaming his ass off the entire time but you hear the melody. It's just as dirty either way though. As for the guitars, we're modern thrash but once again, a bit of glam inspiration infuses that excitement and flare.”
“Either way, it's all about the metal,” Fendley interjects. “If I had just raspy vocals the whole time, we'd be slotted with thrash but if I was only guttural, we'd be death metal. I move between all of that so we can't be pinned down. Baptized In Blood adapts to its surroundings because these songs are for us; what we want to hear. We can't be lumped into specific sub-genres because we could write a power ballad and it would still be Baptized.”
Ensuring their vision was documented to perfection, Baptized In Blood enlisted the assistance of producer/engineer Zeuss (Hatebreed, Shadows Fall, Chimaira) for the 15 songs that comprise their inaugural Roadrunner exhibition. Welcoming the band into his Hadley, Massachusetts-based Planet Z Studio, the legendary mastermind set about pulling out Baptized In Blood's inherently guttural crunch, overt vigor and virulence while still allowing their own modus to tear through to the bone.
“He really worked us hard,” groans Torrance wryly while noting how Baptized In Blood benefits from broader dynamics, emotion and comprehensive grit thanks to the collaborative effort. “It's more serious overall but it also has a fun vibe to it. It's one of those records that someone just getting into metal would think is awesome; get out and party to. At the same time a veteran would do the exact same thing 'cause it's uplifting.”
“We're a metal band working with a legendary hardcore producer,” adds Fendley enthusiastically. “That gave us the inspiration to kick it up a notch. None of us were accepting second best.”
To that extent, both Fendley and Torrance relate that Baptized In Blood is easily the band's most cohesive work to date, propelled by motivation not only to excel but as Fendley notes, an acute history of personal affairs that drive the album to emotional extremes and in turn, engage the music to become harder, faster and inherently catchier.
“Everything I sing about, I've gone through. I've lived through this and write about what I know, not zombies, murder or anything like that. Everyday life motivates me. A lot of people go through what I have, so I try to keep a positive outlook on life because you alone have the choice of being pissed off or making the best of things. My message is that I've been there too so maybe I can help you out. We're all in this together. As for this album, it's a step in a darker direction but still trying to keep my head above the clouds; relieving stresses we as people are going through and asking questions. It's a battle cry: is anybody with me? Does anybody go through this crap too?”
Compelled by Baptized In Blood's rabid, ravenous and re-invigorating assault, Fendley's answer will come with resounding affirmation. Not only do we metallions relate to his lyrics but as this incensed, metal masterpiece unfolds, we are congenitally coerced into action. It's a state even Baptized In Blood themselves are unable to avoid.
“This album is the result of a lot of hard work,” declares Fendley. “We followed a dream and after six years we're at the starting point to really make this work. This album may be completed...but now it's time for us to really start busting ass.”