Friday, May 31, 2013

Blood Stain Child - Epsilon (2011)

Ignore the album artwork because, quite frankly, it sucks.
Three words describe Epsilon: fruity, colorful, and blissful. You would be correct in thinking these are not normally associated with metal. In fact, the album faces an identity crisis for much of its 50-minute runtime and falls deeper into the pop realm, mixing electronica with highly distorted guitars and soaring vocal lines. But for what the record lacks in aggressiveness, it makes up for with slick songwriting, something many bands matching bizarre genres of music often disregard.

Although the majority of Epsilon adheres to predictable song structuring, "Stargazer," Blood Stain Child's most popular track, is the easiest to digest. Despite being only slightly heavier than radio fodder, the trance-infused rocker is perhaps the best representation of the sound the band aims for and, like the rest of the record, pushes boundaries in the artistic world. At its core, Epsilon has been done before, but the small finishing touches tout the record as fresh and as something unique.

That being said, Blood Stain Child is a metal band that has embraced electronica--particularly trance--and pop with open arms. Most, if not all, metallic elements take backseat to either of those, with the band favoring three to four minute songs that effortlessly embed themselves into the mind. Surprisingly, these hooky, memorable melodies never run the risk of growing stale, and starting Epsilon again after one run-through is incredibly easy, which is not something that can be said of many albums.

Songs that stand out after the first listen are tough enough to choose, but the opener "Sirius VI" is a fine piece of pop music that showcases chuggy, start-stop riffs modern melodic death metal is known for--all while being backed by a steady electronic beat. The next, "Forever Free," falls back to a more traditional formula, but firmly grasps melody and pulses aggressively with short spurts of blast beating. In terms of compositional prowess, the first two tracks are the most metal of the bunch, but the record, as a whole, is very strong. The handful comparable in regards to memorability, however, are the club-geared "Electricity," "Merry-Go-Round," and "Eternal."

As nicely done as Epsilon is, though, it is a bit too consistent and rife with songs interchangeable within the track listing. Even so, having too much of a good thing is preferable to a mess of drivel, so Blood Stain Child is easily forgiven, if only for the fact that they are extremely good at what they do. Fusing metal, pop, and electronica has never been a straightforward task, but the six-piece rises to the occasion and succeeds with flying colors.

-TMA

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