“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 have a sonic singularity that has established them as one of modern metal's most forthright and furious bands to date; an aural prowess and thunderous dominance perfectly encapsulated on their self-titled sophomore effort/Roadrunner Records debut.
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 vocalist Johl Fendley. “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.”
Heavily inspired by diverse aspects of thrash metal, punk, and classic rock, Baptized In Blood offers a hard edge bolstered by communicable melodies and outright pummeling amplitude. “There are straight-up screamers who take it very seriously and have that tough guy, 'I'm gonna 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 extremely clean singing. We're right in the middle. 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 our 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.”
The band enlisted producer/engineer Zeuss (Hatebreed, Shadows Fall, Chimaira) for the 15 songs that comprise their eponymous record. Welcoming the band into his Massachusetts-based Planet Z Studio, Zeuss pulled out Baptized In Blood's guttural crunch and overt vigor while allowing their own modus to rip through. “We're a metal band working with a legendary hardcore producer,” comments Fendley. “That gave us the inspiration to kick it up a notch. None of us were accepting second best.” Killswitch Engage bassman Mike D’Antonio designed the explosive album’s artwork.
Both Fendley and Torrance state that Baptized In Blood is easily the band's most cohesive work to date, propelled by a motivation to excel and as Fendley notes, an acute personal history. “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?”