You’ll not see a head-banging, raucous crowd at a By Blood Alone show: instead, you’ll find a captivated, unmoving audience – locked in the moment. While critics praise this 5-piece progressive metal band from Portland Maine for their complex-but-seamless songwriting, determination to dodge stylistic cliches and all-around gothic grandeur, that’s not what makes By Blood Alone unique. The key is that By Blood Alone never seems content with the body of work, and are always reaching into the murky darkness before them for what mystery lies ahead.
That darkness has now cleared with the 2011 release of their third album, Thunderbirds. The emotional storm that was hinted at on 2005’s Eternally and brought to the fore on 2007’s Seas of Blood has exploded on this new release. Having survived a frightening battle with breast cancer right after the release of Seas, vocalist Cruella has brought forth her most personal writing yet. Listeners will revel in the emotive and expressive language used throughout each track. This is a perfect match for John Graveside’s increasingly complex and refined arrangements, an unsettling look into an unsettled psyche. You are as likely to hear a solitary piano delicately underscoring Cruella’s quiet whispers as you are a relentless guitar/bass/drums gallop propelling her wail of contempt. A sultry mix of bitter loss, inglorious defeat and a bit of gallows humor can be culled from the furious, multi-act drama unleashed upon the audience. An ongoing battle between doubt and redemption.
By Blood Alone formed in 2004, determined to not sound like anyone else in Portland. Two northeast tours have proved they sound like few elsewhere. Accolades from numerous US and international press outlets further support this. In particular, Portland’s arts weekly The Phoenix has placed Eternally and Seas of Blood in their year-end Top-10 list, and the band has been nominated for two Portland Music Awards in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010, with wins in 2009. These achievements can be added to stunning live performances with the likes of Joey Belladonna (Anthrax), Michale Graves (Misfits), Goatwhore, Seven Witches, Ocean, and countless other local, regional, and national acts. With the release of Thunderbirds, By Blood Alone will hit road and continue to bring crowds to their auditory emotional theater.