Material: Heavy metal gets a makeover as this groove-oriented trio blends elements of ‘80s hair bands and modern luminaries, like Lamb of God, into one adrenaline-jammed package. For example, humor plays a role in a song about two of lead singer Roberto Garcia’s favorite things, “oral sex and chain restaurants.” Or consider the plucky number concerning “being frustrated about boning because you’re a ghost and all you have is a ghost dong.”
Musicianship: Sam Scribner’s spirited drums in conjunction with Aaron Montecalvo’s plump bass lines lay the foundation for Blood Knife’s ominous sound, but it’s Garcia’s guitar licks that solidify their style. Equally comfortable throwing down bright colors as well as muddying the well with dark clouds that portend a dark destiny, Garcia’s singing similarly runs the gamut, mixing a straight-ahead rock approach with guttural howls that could summon demons. Regrettably, his vocals prove their weakest element, occasionally vanishing amid the trinity’s instrumental woof. Other times, his warbling just isn’t up to snuff.
Performance: For a baby band, Blood Knife sported a considerable stage rapport, gently and comically teasing the audience between songs, then displaying their metal pedigree with Garcia’s hirsute headbanging while in full facemelt mode. Otherwise, they don’t offer much by way of eye candy, dressing plainly and letting the music speak for itself. Accidentally knocking over beverages is a good sign, though, that they’re slaves to the rhythm.
Summary: Although they’re to be commended for their first-rate shredding and novel blend of metal strains, Blood Knife do not yet generate a fully coalesced sound. Instead vacillating between butt-shaking dominance and merely loud, irresistibly engaging and simply another act to endure. Perhaps taking Garcia off vocal duties and employing a charismatic frontman would shine new light upon their chemistry. In the final analysis, they’re off to a magnificent start, serving up a sound that is both fun and at least moderately fresh. Once several more elements fall into place, the band will become truly noteworthy.
The Players: Roberto Garcia, guitar, vocals; Aaron Montecalvo, bass, backup vocals; Sam Scribner, drums.
– Andy Kaufmann