E.P. Review: Blood Sport - Hot Blood & Cold Steel
Reviewed by Jon Wigg
When you describe yourself as the “hyperactive bastard child of Judas Priest and Venom”, you had better be able to back up the claim. Finland’s Blood Sport play speed metal. That’s it. Speed Metal. Consisting of V on vocals, Burst on guitar and bass and G.U.N. on session drums, Blood Sport have collected their first four songs and added two new tracks to give us ‘Hot Blood & Cold Steel’.
This six track E.P. certainly provided 18 minutes of speed metal. The intentionally retro production is in keeping with the vibe of those early 80’s progenitors and it certainly sounds like it could fit into the primordial soup of fast heavy metal from the time. Fast, violent and well written and played, I enjoyed all of the tracks here. The issue I have is that there is very little to distinguish between them. You could choose any of the tracks here and have a great time. And then you could hit repeat, or shuffle, and have the same experience again. And how long could you do that for?
The reason speed metal essentially evolved into thrash metal is that something else was needed. And that was variety. The classic early thrash bands knew this and knew when to change pace, whether it was within a track, or for a whole song. The classic thrash albums all have changes in style and tempo and this is what is lacking here. Imagine Ride the Lightning if all the songs were speed tracks like Motorbreath and there was no magnificent chug of ‘Seek and Destroy’ or ‘Jump In The Fire’. Reign in Blood is a very different album without ‘Raining Blood’ and ‘Postmortem’.
Look, I like the tracks from Blood Sport. All six are fine examples of speed metal, old or new. And for a first proper release it's a great example of what they hopefully become. The songs are exactly what they say on the tin - speed metal. But they are all pretty much played to the same tempo with little variation in style. Given time, I hope that Blood Sport can build on ‘Hot Blood & Cold Steel’, add in some variation. They say they ‘will never commit the cardinal sin of their predecessors: No ballads will ever be committed to tape’ and I applaud that. But slower doesn’t necessarily mean ballad and I look forward to their next release with anticipation.