When I found the album Screaming for Adrenaline back in 2013, totally blown away, it received a lot of play. I was beyond excited to have discovered this great new band from Finland. Santa Cruz began formation in 2007 but didn’t solidify until 2009. With a register of Archie Kuosmanen (vocals/guitar), Johnny Parkkonen (guitars/vocals), Middy Toivonen (bass), and Taz Fagerström (drums) they self-released the Anthems for the Young ‘n’ Restless EP. Finnish label, Spinefarm Records brought forth the debut record Screaming for Adrenaline in 2013. The self-titled sophomore effort appeared in 2015. And now the young Fins unveil Bad Blood Rising on November 10, 2017, courtesy of M-Theory Audio.
While I personally loved the debut, I couldn’t take to 2015’s self-titled sophomore. Struggling to gel with the new musical direction that Santa Cruz took, I just couldn’t get it at all. In fact, after a few songs, I shut it off never to be played again.
SANTA CRUZ – Bad Blood Rising
Before writing my review here of the third and latest Santa Cruz output I revisited both Screaming for Adrenaline and Santa Cruz. Feelings are still the same for me toward each of those releases. This new one, Bad Blood Rising, seems to fall somewhere in between. Still leaning more toward the modern sound though I think, which is not something endearing to me at all.
Lead single/video and album starter “Young Blood Rising” has some real punch to it. High energy and a melodic vocal chorus. Well, Santa Cruz, you have my attention back. Still flooded with the modern sounds but I find some touches of the glam style that was more prominent on Screaming for Adrenaline. Starting out with some talkbox vocal effects, track two, “River Phoenix” is a decent thumper again. But the gang vocal chorus sounds a lot similar to “Young Blood Rising”.
“Fire Running Through Our Veins” starts slow and different before hitting full steam…but then at chorus just sounds the same as first two songs. I’m really struggling to keep my attention focused by the time we hit the slower fare of “Drag Me Out of the Darkness” in the fourth spot. The whistling beginnings on “Breathe” signify a full on ballad on the way and “Voice of the New Generation” followed by “Back from the Dead” are more spoken than sung. Nothing different in the last four tracks of the album.
No individuality or vocal hooks. That’s what I’m missing here. I’m not hearing the vocal hooks that make songs stand out from each other and instantly identifiable. Unfortunately, the gang vocal chorus on every track sounds very much the same as the one before it. The guitar solos and breakdown are top notch, but not enough to carry the compositions on their own.
Each and every review is biased in some way or another. It’s simply the author’s opinion of a body of work. Sometimes the reviewer loves the art and sometimes not. Unfortunately, in this case, I am nowhere near excited about Santa Cruz‘s Bad Blood Rising album. While the artist may view that as an insult, it’s certainly not meant in that regard. I can’t play an instrument nor sing and I award high credit for those out there creating music. This one’s just not for me.
Nickelback may have sold all those albums but that doesn’t make me like it.