Formed in 2017 by erstwhile Visigoth guitarist Jamison Palmer, in nearly no time at all, Salt Lake City’s BLOOD STAR have blossomed into their own entity. In 2020, the then-trio’s first recording was unleashed upon an unsuspecting public. Bearing the title The Fear, BLOOD STAR’s debut was a two-song firestorm of classic, cruising HEAVY METAL of a most authentically ’80s vintage. Released by SHADOW KINGDOM, The Fear no doubt set the bar unbelievably high for the band’s inevitable debut album. During the interim, the now-four-piece BLOOD STAR took to the stage and often, touring the United States twice, and then digitally releasing a series of covers which included Dokken, Uriah Heep, and the Highwaymen.
At long last, BLOOD STAR arrive with their first full-length statement, fittingly titled First Sighting. Encompassing seven songs across a concise 33 minutes, First Sighting fully displays all of BLOOD STAR’s sides – and powerfully. From roughed-up hard rock to moody heavy metal gallops to, of course, their highway-ready speed metal, the band skillfully recombine all their myriad influences – Dio, Thin Lizzy, W.A.S.P., Omen, Blue Öyster Cult, Riot, Demon, and earliest Def Leppard foremost among them, but not forgetting the likes of Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and solo Ozzy – into a veritable jukebox of ’80s metal glory, each song an anthem or an epic in its own right, and yet each one as different as the last. Classy and just a bit dark, dynamics are once again crucial here, locating that ever-elusive balance between restraint and force, but never resorting to trite quiet/loud constructs. To that, BLOOD STAR’s execution is simply deadly here, a result of road-testing all but one of the songs (“The Observers”); very much “live” and thankfully not slicked-up, you FEEL every note of First Sighting. And once again, vocalist Madeline Michelle bewitches almost effortlessly, but here she displays even more sides of her considerable repertoire, giving danger and drama to the album’s lyrical themes of revenge, triumph, futility of the rat race, self-destruction, and paranoia. And then, before you know it, First Sighting is over and you’re pressing “play” again…and again…and again!
No longer “a righteous new development in traditional metal,” BLOOD STAR sound like they’ve been here forever with First Sighting. The future of the past starts NOW!