No One Here Gets Out Alive, the recently released EP from New Jersey’s Roseblood, shares its name with “Five to One," a strange bedfellow penned by the Lizard King himself. Intentionality or not, that’s where the Doors comparisons start and stop.
The menace of instrumental opener “FTD” is a voyeuristic plea of caution: “Don’t go in that door.”
Adorned with gnarled feedback and a barely decipherable sample, it’s with dizzying changes of pace that they set the table. The remaining four songs are a masterclass in chaotic metallurgy, fusing classic early '00s metalcore with countless other extreme landmarks. Nary a stone goes unturned: blast beats that pair equally well with lurching sludge as they do with brief flurries of grind, hurricanes of blackened thrash riffs, devastatingly heavy breakdowns, and a snare sound that feels like I’m tethered to the whipping post.
The vocals are every bit as feral and commanding as you’d expect to accompany a tapestry this bleak. Lovingly recorded and mixed by Evan Perino and mastered by Azimuth Mastering, the collection is as crisp as it is clear. As I’m writing this, the EP has been out for hardly three days and I’m still falling hopelessly deeper into the wormhole. Humor me, here. As is the case with a true labor of love, it’s slowly been revealing itself to be a work far more nuanced and developed than I initially thought.
Were it simply a collection of top-tier hardcore songs, and it sure as shit is, I’d still would’ve gladly sang its’ praises. A more thorough dig into the EP finds a work loaded with allusions and references to the darker end of the human experience. The opener,” FTD”, could possibly be referencing frontotemporal dementia. Befitting of the insidious nature of such a horrible condition, the inherent mood of the track acts as a sinister memory wipe, a palette cleansing born in violence, mined in darkness and tragedy.
The third track, “Zapruder,” most certainly a direct call to the Zapruder film, which is perhaps the most infamous 26 seconds ever committed to celluloid. The song, a blur of metallized hardcore, stays twice as long and assassinates the listener’s eardrums.
“DCLXVI” is, for me, the “you complete me” moment of the five song collection. Roman Numeral geeks, should they exist, might note that these are the first six Roman Numerals in reverse order. For our readers, it’s more befitting I mention that it’s also the Roman Numeral for “666.” Do with that what you will, but it speaks to a band pushing their own limits in the realm of thematics.
Roseblood will attack you from unexpected angles, much like the rose itself. Though a testament to the possibilities of nature to create a thing of staggering beauty, the thorn is a barb left there to remind us that in order to protect itself, pain and violence are sometimes required. This duality, simultaneously hideous and heartbreakingly gorgeous, is not lost on No One Here Gets Out Alive.
As taken as I obviously was with their EP, I reached out to the band. BX, Roseblood’s mad frontperson, was kind enough to indulge me.
Location has always fascinated me. Being from New Jersey, you’ve inherited quite the legacy. What’re some bands past and present you feel embody the region? What was the scene like as you were coming up?
Being from New Jersey is the coolest thing in the world. A lot of the time, it gets nothing but shit but I feel that if you grew up in any part of Jersey, you just sort of get it in a sense. It’s dirty, but it’s so sick at the same time because you have this weird sense of pride that most states don’t have. I can’t really describe it but you just, know, you know?
When I started going to shows, it was in the suburbs near the shore. Backbiter, Old Wounds, and Back and Forth were bands I’d see pretty often, which in retrospect was the coolest way to come up because all the shows were DIY and just absolutely reckless. It really opened my eyes to a lot of music outside of the realm I was comfortable with and that changed my view on a lot of things for the better which is rad. Fun Fact, ask anyone around here about the pizza hut show and you’ll get a shit ton of wild stories.
Past New Jersey bands that I feel deserve some praise would be Deadguy, Arson, E-Town Concrete, Shattered Realm, Turning Point, Black Kites, Troublemaker, Thursday, For the Love Of, Senses Fail, and My Chemical Romance. New Jersey had everything from metalcore, post-hardcore, beatdown, and even Youth Crew, which shows how diverse the hardcore scene is here which is really sick. I think those bands give you a well rounded view of what jersey could of been like in the mid-'90s to mid-'00s, a shit show, in the best way.
Current New Jersey bands that deserve your attention are Old Wounds, Tourniquet, On Sight, MVA, Fence Cutter, and Greater Pain. We have a lot of cool shit around right now, which is sick. Also Tourniquet just dropped their record and it’s fucked. I’m pretty sure y’all posted it [of course we did], which is so rad because that record is incredible. I love what New Jersey is coming up with right now. Love that shit so fucking much.”
No One Here Gets Out Alive is excellent. Aside from its’ myriad musical high points, there seems to be great focus on allusion and a scholarly care taken with themes and subject in a way rarely seen in hardcore or metal. Am I right in assuming there are references to the Zapruder film and the Roman Numeral for 666? Where do those influences come from?
First off, thank you so much and yes! I’m so hyped you caught that. I’ve always been fascinated with the term “Hell” and what it meant. Growing up, I was taught the biblical version of the word and whatever that shit was but the more I researched it I realized it encompassed a lot of things I personally felt internally. The imagery was a reflection of that on the record. The late '60s itself was super fucked and I’ve always been super interested in it. In one week you have Charles Manson and his Family kill seven people and the next week you have the largest gathering of “love” the world at that time had ever seen, and they were both given the same pedestal which intrigued me a lot.
Lyrically speaking, I wanted to encompass that feeling of hopelessness and despair I feel with imagery I could relate it to, and it just fit in my brain. If you think about the Zapruder film, Woodstock, RFK’s assassination, Altamont, the Vietnam War, it was all so violent and a literal bloodshed on a public platform. That, to me, is what the record is just mixed with the hopelessness of being ill which can be all the things above as well. We’ve always wanted to do something different but never wanted it to be forced, we do it for us and no one else which is something we’re proud of.
What’s the rest of 2018 look like for Roseblood?
I can’t say too much and I don’t know when this will come out but! We have our record release Friday Aug. 31 in New Brunswick, which is going to be a bunch of our friends bands and us just riffin’. We have a weekend with Rest in Piss and Ripped Away coming up too in September, and a tour in October which should be sick! We’re just grateful for it all.
P.S. Listen to Kickback, Arkangel, Disembodied, Remembering Never, and Poison the Well.