"some music was meant to stay underground..."

70000 Tons of Metal - The World's Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise

Tardy Brothers - "Bloodline" (CD)

Tardy Brothers - "Bloodline" CD cover image

"Bloodline" track listing:

1. Bring You Down (3:52)
2. Bloodline (4:50)
3. I'm Alive (4:40)
4. Deep Down (5:18)
5. Wired (2:53)
6. Fate's Call (3:42)
7. Eternal Lies (5:09)
8. Scream Descendent (3:59)
9. Fade Away (4:06)

Reviewed by on April 10, 2009

"Fans of Obituary will enjoy “Bloodline,” as long as the expectations for something out of left-field are kept low."

In the early 90’s, Florida death metal band Obituary was one of the bands that benefited from the sudden popularity of American death metal. They were signed to a major label (Roadrunner) and released a series of albums that are considered classics in the genre. Today, the band is still going strong, re-uniting in 2003 after a half-decade hiatus. The Tardy brothers, vocalist John and drummer Donald, have been around since the early days of the band. The two recently decided to form a side-project aptly titled Tardy Brothers. Their debut album, “Bloodline,” takes parts from the core sound of Obituary and adds in some experimental moments that showcase a mellower side of the Tardy brothers.

John has said in several interviews that “Bloodline” isn’t supposed to sound like Obituary, but the truth is that it does quite often. John’s raspy voice was tailor-made for death metal, and no matter what project he embarks on, his vocals will remind most metal fans of his other band. John could do an album with just a piano and tambourine and people would compare it to Obituary; one of the disadvantages of being the front man for an influential death metal band.

It’s up to the music itself to shake the scent of Obituary. The brothers enlist several guitarists to help them out with “Bloodline,” including Ralph Santolla, John Lee, and Jerry Tidwell, who played in Executioner, the original incarnation of Obituary. Each of these musicians adds some much-needed variety and technical wizardry to the album, especially in the lead work.

The lead work is an important part of what makes “Bloodline” an engaging listen from start to finish, as the songs have an issue with repetition. There are at least two or three solid riffs for each song. The problem is that that’s all each one has. It becomes apparent when a few tracks go over the five-minute mark, especially in the first half of “Bloodline.” “Bring You Down” and “I’m Alive” are catchy as hell, but each goes on for about a minute too long. There was definitely some fat that could have been carved out of the early portion of “Bloodline.”

The Tardy Brothers take a leap with the acoustic-driven instrumental “Wired.” To this reviewer’s knowledge, this is the first time acoustic instruments are used in any project either Tardy brother have been involved with. This is where the real innovation lies; where “Bloodline” stands out from the rest of the Obituary catalog. It’s a nice break from the constant barrage that the Tardy Brothers throw at the listener. “Scream Descendent” brings back the acoustic guitars, this time dueling with the electric guitars. The combined sound is the soundtrack to the ultimate battle over the fate of the world.

The faster material is also contained to the later moments on “Bloodline,” with “Fate’s Call” and “Eternal Lies” bringing back memories of later-day Obituary. The album ends on a high note with the slow-churning “Fade Away,” which takes its time to build towards an explosive conclusion, compete with the fade-out solo that seemingly goes on for infinity.

“Bloodline” isn’t too far out of the Tardy brothers safe zone, which makes it a bit disappointing considering that the acoustic work on “Wired” and “Scream Descendent” seems to be nothing more than an extended tease. Fans of Obituary will enjoy “Bloodline,” as long as the expectations for something out of left-field are kept low. Supposedly, there will be more releases from the Tardy Brothers. Hopefully, the band pushes further into uncharted territory and takes a step out of their self-contained death metal bubble.

Highs: Acoustic work is a nice touch, strong vocals, guitar work is stellar

Lows: Repetitive melodies, first half is a little lacking, not enough to differentiate from Obituary

Bottom line: The Tardy Brothers put out a solid debut that showcases the potential for future releases.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)