Formed in north London in 2018, Oldblood merge elements of doom, punk, post-metal and black metal into one cohesive, blackened monstrosity. As shown by their debut 4-track EP ‘Arms to the Sky’. Themed around the dropping of the atomic bomb over Hiroshima, the crushing riffs combined with devastating melodies that paint an agonised picture of life before, during and after the nuclear explosion.
Lead track ‘Kuebiko’, Japanese word that translates as “a state of exhaustion inspired by acts of senseless violence, which force you to revise your image of what can happen in this world”. Opens the EP with some haunting clanging before a crushing riff and the death growls start. Imitating complete destruction in musical form.
Right from the start you can hear how the guys use the two guitars. Theres small phrases tucked away sounding slightly clear between the heavy distortion of the main riff. An interlude throws in some melodic eeriness that is overtaken by that slow crushing riff.
Track 2 as the name suggests, ‘Nuclear Blues’ has a somewhat bluesy riff, similar to a mid life Black Sabbath track. That bassy distortion really give the track a kick as it bleeds into a cacophony of noise. Bluesy guitar solo breaks through the mayhem but is soon dragged down into the dirge.
The call to arms drumroll at the start of ‘Alone’ takes a slight sinister twist with the addition of an acoustic and soft strummed electric guitars. Telling the story of ‘She’. ‘She’ stands alone in the devastation caused by the atomic blast and having lost everything; she wonders what to do with her life. The calm before the storm before the world destroying riffing returns all slow and drawn out. Cleaner notes are added as the band take over with bubbling instrumental that builds to utter mayhem before crashing into feedback.
‘Los Alamos’ is an atmospheric telling of the story of the creation of the atomic bomb. Riff dominated the boys show the joy of starting out quiet before turning on the distortion and volume. It’s all quiet in the verses then the guys turn on the gas to hammer the track home. An interesting interlude where the guitars play off each other building the suspense before it shatters with that damn catchy riff that dominates the track.
The guys have spread their metal wings and include various genres and elements here that pay dividends on the finishing article. These guys do heavy in a well controlled manner that relies on the chords and notes used rather than muddied distortion and thrash speed levels of playing. The kind that Black Sabbath used so well. Slow, sinister and bull dozer heavy.
There’s some really interesting ideas here and you feel the guys have spent their time to make this EP as good as possible. Each track is well over 5 minutes long and take you on a journey through a destroyed world full of violence and chaos but also sadness and despair.
Check out opening track ‘Kuebiko’, below:
01 – Kuebiko
02 – Nuclear Blues
03 – Los Alamos
04 – Alone