Brand of Sacrifice's 'Lifeblood' Is the Kick in the Ass Deathcore Needs

BY Manus HopkinsPublished Mar 2, 2021

There's been an eerie, guttural rumbling in the deathcore scene since 2018 thanks to Toronto quintet Brand of Sacrifice. Their interest-piquing debut album, God Hand, saw them establish themselves as a band to keep an eye on, and landed them a slot on the 2019 edition of the Summer Slaughter tour, headlined by the mighty Cattle Decapitation.

Any fan will understand how crucial a follow-up record is after a debut like Brand of Sacrifice's. The second album is always a tricky one, and the sophomore slump is a very real thing. Luckily for Brand of Sacrifice and their fans, Lifeblood is unquestionably the kick in the ass deathcore needs to thrive in the 2020s. Starting off with the agitated, tense, minute-and-a-half-long "Dawn," the album moves into the smoldering ferocity of lead single "Demon King." "Animal" begins with a fraught yet calming piano and clean vocal-driven intro that lasts all of 20 seconds before the aggression is cranked up yet again, now incorporating classically tinged melodies.

Three songs in, the album already has already induced a massive bout of sensory overload, but it's far from over, and there is lots of musical and atmospheric ground left to cover. From the ambient, electronic-fused "Altered Eyes," to the glitchy, futuristic "Prophecy of the Falcon," to the soaring, operatic interlude that is "Perfect World," there's an incredible amount of versatility here that is all too often left out of deathcore, making the genre feel tired and homogenous — and this is still only halfway through the album.

With 12 tracks of mostly bludgeoning deathcore, one might worry an album like Lifeblood might run out of steam before it's over, but this isn't the case thanks to Brand of Sacrifice's willingness to get strange. "Mortal Vessel" is shaped with ambient noise, "Vengeance" is driven by catchy riffs and an almost hip-hop groove, and "Ruin" is permeated by a dizzying technicality. After another short, calm-before-the-storm interlude in "Corridor of Dreams," the album closes with its stomping title track, a culmination of everything that's come before it, and the only acceptable note on which to end the ruthless, barbaric sonic assault that is Lifeblood.

Even deathcore's biggest critics should admit that Brand of Sacrifice have done something here. This is no typical deathcore album, and if there's any band that can dispel the criticism deathcore as a whole receives in elitist metal circles, it could easily be Brand of Sacrifice. This is the sound of extreme metal today, and Lifeblood is an album that deserves all the attention it can get. 
(Blood Blast)

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