Material: Blood and sinew, bile and grit form the elemental building blocks of this post-hardcore trio sporting both male and female vocals. Declared influences include Fugazi, Drive Like Jehu, The Pixies and Sonic Youth, although their sound fits just as snugly within today’s metal oeuvre as much as that of yesterday’s alt-punk zeitgeist. One detects the distinct engine of chugging U.K. beats throughout their angry compositions, but it’s the group’s high-octane, angular ethos that wins fresh devotees.
Musicianship: Blood Built Empire isn’t so much about showy riffs or progressive chords as much as feeling––fierce, earnest and raw. With a set lasting barely 30 minutes, they hurl their message with speed and power, harkening back to the kamikaze methodology pioneered by The Ramones. Regretfully, lead vocalist Jared Marsh’s lyrics prove no match for the band's overpowering attack and bassist Deb Grant’s voice can only do so much to compensate for this weakness. Nonetheless, Blood Built Empire fulfill their mission with equal parts purpose and precision.
Performance: With a simple declaration of “We’re Blood Built Empire,” the ex-Taxpayer and The Information members launch into their aural assault sans fanfare. Little is offered by way of audience interaction save the introduction of scattered song titles. Similarly, despite solid professionalism, they serve little by way of uniqueness or visual stimulation. Midway through their set, an announcement was made that they’re giving away t-shirts yet selling cassettes—a curious strategy if ever such a thing existed.
Summary: For their inaugural gig within the sparklingly renovated space that previously inhabited Boston’s storied T.T. the Bear’s, BBE amply stoked the flames of a crowd craving the headbanging bliss of anvil-like beats. This accomplishment, though, is hindered by their inherent lack of sonic diversity. Further, the absence of crave-able choruses hurts them exactly in the space where they most need to shine, which then becomes multiplied by a distinct lack of branding or novelty. While Somerville’s new kids on the hardcore scene make for a lively outing that’s both honest and direct, they must unearth a fresh angle worth exploiting, lest they find themselves adrift in a sea of similar acts.