Chicago thrashers Bloodletter add fresh new coat of blood to powerful initial EP ‘Malignancy’

I’m weirdly protective of thrash metal and also have a major aversion to it because this is the style that got me into heavier music and always will have a major place in my heart. I love this style of music and have joyously been accumulating vinyl versions of the records that filled by teenage years with at least a little bit of happiness but also can’t handle a lot of the newer bands that can’t get the vibe right.

That’s not to suggest newer bands can’t get it right, and Chicago beasts Bloodletter are proof positive you can play this style with violent precision in 2022. This is an interesting release because it’s not new music, considering “Malignancy” originally came out in 2014. But the band re-recorded their first EP after a few years of perfecting their trade, and the band—vocalist/guitarist Pete Carparelli, guitarist and Pat Armamentos, bassist Tanner Hudson, drummer Zach Sutton—takes those early creations and injects them with new spirit and savagery, putting a beating on these songs and your physical well-being.

“In These Ruined Halls … Reputation for Cruelty” starts the record ominously with bells chiming and birds cawing before the track shreds and spills blood on the streets. There’s a black metal tenacity to the guitars and a rampaging as Carparelli wails, “No regrets! No remorse!” as the track clubs you bloody.  “Blackest Mass” swaggers and trudges, bleeding attitude as shrieky howls punish, and the storm gets stronger. “The hour is upon us, vengeance will be ours,” Carparelli vows as strong leads burn, giving off a classic metal vibe as everything ends violently. “Skullsplitter” stomps away and immediately threatens as Carparelli wails, “Meet me in combat, I will claim your life.” The playing gets rowdier and bloodier as it goes, with the final threat of, “Resist my rule and meet my ax,” landing right between the eyes. “Poisonous Affair” is a quick punk metal blasts that runs 1:08 and wastes no time, the playing jackhammering, the riffs powering, and the bass burying you in soot. The closing title track starts with the drums crushing, giving off a “Painkiller” vibe before everything opens savagely, mangling with melodic yet vicious thrash. The leads glimmer as the playing soars, the band deals final gusts of punishment, and your bruised body lies prone from which the vultures can feast.

“Malignancy” certainly lives in a different form than it did originally, and time and seasoning helped Bloodletter add some extra power to these songs for this re-recording. This is thrash that sticks to your bones, melodic enough but never at the expense of the power and violence packed into these tracks. This is a nice appetizer before the band comes back with their next full-length, and this will keep us filled up enough until they fill up our plates with rotting meat and bone again.

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