Bloodclot – Souls (Upstate Records)

JJ’s back with yet another line up of hardcore superstars.

As if being the singer on one of the most important albums in the history of hardcore wasn’t enough, of course referring to the seminal album The Age Of Quarrel by the legendary Cro-Mags, John Joseph has emerged with a new force to be reckoned with in Bloodclot. I say new, the band has it’s origins in the 80’s as the band put together by Bad brains roadies, but it’s only in the last few years that it’s become a full time situation for Joseph. 2017’s Up In Arms was one of the best old school hardcore records to emerge in years and now in 2022, Bloodclot are back with new record Souls. Of course J.J cant do it all on his own and surrounds himself with the best of the best.

Previous line ups have seen Todd Youth, Nick Oliveri and Joey Castillo to name but a few, ,but with Souls he may have assembled his heaviest line up yet, with Joseph recruiting guitarist Tom Capone (ex-Quicksand,Bold), bass legend Craig Setari (Sick Of It All, Agnostic Front) and drummer Darren Morgenthaler (Maximum Penalty, Madball). A frantic bit of classic punk riffing opens the album’s title track, with a super catchy chorus breaking it up while next track Unhinged is classic NYHC in every sense of the word. Buzzsaw riffing and pounding drums that do not let up until the last note. The catch in War Castles is the gloriously groovy verses, which would give Madball a run for their money and to be honest, the rest of the album rarely diverges from that formula, but if you are that good at it, then why would you? The album finishes off with J.J paying homage to the mighty Bad Brains with great cover of the classic How Low Can A Punk Get.

It cant be said of everybody within the scene sadly but John Joseph’s musical output just seems to get better and better. The man has emerged as a somewhat divisive character in hardcore over the years, but whatever your political stance is, don’t forget about the talent he possesses, which he has demonstrated time and time again. Souls is classic New York Hardcore, the way it used to be….Chris Andrews

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