ALBUM REVIEW: Scream Blue Murder – Rock Bottom
Scream Blue Murder have made quite the reputation for themselves thus far. After forming in 2014, the Coventry-based quartet released their debut record, Hollow Stories, in 2016, and have since toured with the likes of Cancer Bats and Bury Tomorrow. Add two US tours to their belt (their most recent featuring Everyone Dies In Utah and High Rise) and you get an idea of how popular they’ve become in their relatively short career. Now, Scream Blue Murder are set to unleash their sophomore album, Rock Bottom, via Stay Sick Recordings. We gave it a spin to see what’s what.
The first feeling you get from the record is that it will accurately reflect its title – rock bottom.
Lyrics alone, you can see the reflection on a love long lost, a relationship breaking down, confusion, and heartache. This, paired with heavy electronic atmospherics and guitar melodies, keep you hooked on their sound from the get-go. Cheeky twinges of electronic distortion in Death Sentence and Inside make for a more interesting listen, and show you that Scream Blue Murder are experimenting and (successfully) trying to make a new sound.
Towards the latter half of the record, the more bitter and aggressive emotions exhibited after loss and despair are very much apparent in both the lyrics, vocal style, and more strikingly, the instrumentals. The melodies are now more subtle, and atmospherics are replaced with chunky riffs and beat-down guitar sections to accompany frontman Aaron Bloomer’s more distorted and hurtful vocals. Friends Like Judas features Bloomer’s harsher vocals coming into play, with the overall tempo increasing and the lyrics becoming somewhat darker than the former half.
This approach is really gripping, as you don’t really notice the emotion and tempo subtly changing to a more anger-ridden sound. The album’s closer, Victims of Violence, is like the final explosion of emotion after one reclaims some of their independence. It lulls you in slowly with a piano intro, before exploding into Bloomer screaming “You don’t give a shit, I’m not gonna sit back, I’m not gonna take this,” which is a long way from the softer lyrics seen before. The melodic choruses are still there, giving way to great live performances, but a new, slightly darker side of Scream Blue Murder rears its head.
What’s also notable about Rock Bottom is that it’s loaded with anthemic choruses and catchy lyrics (Bury Me is a great example), and mosh-inducing instrumentals. There’s no doubt that this is a record which was designed and destined to be played live, with each track carefully orchestrated to suit the outfit’s live status. As a band who are making a name for themselves supporting big acts, it’s a great tactic and one which will benefit them and their fans greatly.
Overall, Scream Blue Murder’s new record is everything a sophomore record should be. They’ve taken what made Hollow Stories, refined it, and made a smooth allegorical record which sends you through the journey of heartache and, as the title suggests, rock bottom itself. All that is needed is for the energy and emotion on the record to be transferred into their live performances, and a new top-ranking band arrives. Bloomer said that “This album really shows the direction the band is going,” and if that’s the case, they have a promising, potentially top-rank future ahead of them.
Standout Tracks: Friends Like Judas, Victims of Violence, Bury Me
For Fans Of: Of Mice And Men, Cancer Bats, Bury Tomorrow
Written by: Jordan McEvoy