Bergen’s Blood Command are one of those bands who should be way bigger than they are. Bill gave them a favorable shout-out in his most recent punk round-up, but the band remain a relatively uncelebrated quantity, especially when compared with the quality and consistency – not to mention the sheer infectious joy – of their output. Nevertheless, now is perhaps a better time to jump on board than ever. The Norwegian four-piece dropped their new EP, Return of the Arsonist, last week and if a mixture of Refused, Kvelertak and Paramore sounds like something you’d be into then you should definitely be picking it up.
If you’re unfamiliar with Blood Command, then their newest release is probably the best place to start. The eleven-minute Return of the Arsonist provides a compact overview of the band’s eclectic sound, while also delivering some of the biggest hooks they’ve come up with to date. The EP is much more direct effort than the quartet’s previous record and leans on the hardcore aspects of their sound more than they have done in some time. There’s still plenty of variety on offer: the brief “Ritual Knife” hints at some of the darker, mathcore-influenced aspects of their sound and “No Thank You, I’m More Into Fake Grindcore” features some light electronic elements, while “Afraid of Water” revels in an uncharacteristic and uplifting pop-punk aesthetic. What ties it all together is the band’s tight songwriting and a penchant for huge hooks that suggests they would be just as comfortable playing more mainstream arenas as they are more underground club shows.
From there you want to jump back to 2012’s Funeral Beach, which remains the band’s strongest offering. The album is a modern cult classic that thrives on huge hooks and striking melodies, and makes occasional sidesteps into mathcore and Refused-style jazz-punk-fusion. In a way it recalls what Marmozets would go on to do on The Weird and Wonderful (2014) a few years later. However, the album remains propelled by a punk rock energy that places them firmly on the hardcore side of the spectrum and recalls the infectious rock n’ roll energy of their countrymen Kvelertak’s infectious 2010 debut.
The more eclectic elements of Blood Command’s sound would be further developed on 2017’s Cult Drugs, which boasts boasts an accentuated electronic edge and was also their first release with current vocalist Karina Ljone. Although easily their most expansive offering the record is far less immediate and lacks a certain amount of ballistic flair when compared with its predecessor. Even so, the songwriting itself remains top notch, and if you’re more into indie/electro-pop than I am you’ll likely get more of a kick out of it that I do.
Funeral Beach is where they really come into their own, but you really can’t go wrong with any of Blood Command’s albums. All of these releases, along with their more straight-forward debut record Ghostclocks (2009), are available on Blood Command’s bandcamp page, and I really can’t imagine anyone but the most entrenched doom-metal fanatic not finding something to like among their impressive and eccentric catalogue.