The brand-new Blood from the Soul album DSM-5 packs an invigorating journey into metaphorical lands of mental unease, like struggling to climb down the side of a crumbling, precariously tall mountain as huge chunks of falling rock crash below.
DSM-5 is available now via Deathwish Inc. The album features Shane Embury of Napalm Death handling guitars, bass, and electronics; Dirk Verbeuren of Megadeth on drums and percussion; Jacob Bannon of Converge handling vocals, lyrics, and visuals, and Jesper Liveröd of Nasum on bass. Embury originally formulated Blood from the Soul in the early ’90s, when he released the project’s debut record, To Spite the Hand That Bleeds, alongside Lou Koller of Sick Of It All on Earache Records.
The project’s newest album carries a substantial level of catharsis—the stormy rush of energy feels electric—and DSM-5 also packs somberly towering unease, like huge waves falling over the side of a rickety boat during a torrential storm. There’s a rich drama in the sound.
The rejuvenating music hinges on a somewhat mechanized metallic hardcore, giving the album an industrialized (although definitely not industrial-centric) vibe. Beefy riffs frequently repeat and build throughout DSM-5, producing an occasionally hypnotic effect, as if that metaphorical storm has suddenly begun flashing with lightning strikes that carry bright hues like those of the album art.
“Subtle Fragment,” the album’s seventh song, centers a hypnotically repeating, slower tempo rhythm, but the vibe definitely repeats elsewhere.
Tracks three and ten, called “Calcified Youth” and “Self Deletion,” respectively, center some grooving, quick-stepping guitar rhythms that pack beefy swagger. Elsewhere, on “Debris of Dreams” and “Sharpened Heart”—the fourth and ninth tracks, respectively—the music leans into a more angular, rusty-jointed sonic pummeling.
Across the entire record, the riffs themselves carry emotional power on par with rumbling cracks of thunder, so besides the flourishes added to the hard-hitting foundation, DSM-5 features some substantially paradigm-rattling rhythms to ponder.
There’s a consistent kick in the music of Blood from the Soul, but the progressions across the album feel remarkably organic and, comparatively speaking at least, smooth. The gradually pulsating rhythms give the impression of some kind of real beating heart at the core of the sonic storm—the heart feels exposed and seems to struggle, but it’s there. The project seems to have placed this “heart” (in a more metaphorical sense) smack dab in the middle of the perhaps jarring context of their remarkably heavy music.
On an emotional level, Bannon’s richly dynamic yet fiercely vicious vocals seem to relate a tale of desperation, which shines in the instrumentation of DSM-5 as well. The music feels urgent and personal, like standing in the midst of some brightly flashing, apocalyptic landscape and shaking one’s fist at the sky. In the emotionally palpable yet physically formidable power of DSM-5, Blood from the Soul seem to be exploring the area underneath looming apocalyptic storm clouds, and the album’s anthemic energy delivers a communally-oriented sense of some real vigor.