Bleeding Kansas 1859

Most bands with blood mentioned in their name are just trying to sound tough because though they lack substance, they’ve got something to prove. Naming themselves after a period in American history when the racial questions escalated into a bloody battle for Kansas qualifies this band as clever. For Bleeding Kansas a breakdown isn’t just a breakdown, it’s an extended metaphor of a breakdown. Disorder is juxtaposed to intricately designed structures and building passion. Kurt Ballou gives it the gritty and heavy sound he has become renowned for with his album production. The vocals do occasionally seem out of place — whether it’s their volume or interaction with the music that causes this is debatable — and overall, it sounds awkward. They have a few moments reminiscent of Hopesfall’s powerful, emotive chord construction, and enough squeals and string bending to please any dancing fan. As a whole, they have eccentricities in terms of songwriting that make for an endlessly interesting album. There are plenty of riffs that adhere to a Botch formula, attacking rock from the zany side, much like the derivative, dance remix version called Every Time I Die. This just serves as another reminder that we have entered the age of Botch reverence; an enjoyable fate, especially when confronted with the possibility of an age of Madball. (Abacus)