Live Review: Blood Command // The Joiners, Southampton 5.11.2018

Blood Command, a punk band from Norway are inspired by the likes of Refused and The Clash. Listening to their music is a seductive experience, the melodic aggression quickly drawing you in. Their second album ‘Funeral Beach’ is frenetic and in your face, incorporating plenty of complex riffs. It received rave reviews from Kerrang! and Metal Hammer. The band have played shows with Protest the Hero and Biffy Clyro, having also appeared at the European festivals Nova Rock and Rokslide.

Blood Command are playing The Joiners in Southampton tonight. It’ll be interesting to hear how their sonically blistering sound will fare in a live environment.

A battered sausage and chips from the chip shop by The Joiners was the most rock n’ roll way to start the evening. It certainly did the trick as I waited outside the venue. Hearing the muffled soundchecks inside got me excited for the evening ahead.

Dissonants, a local Southampton–based metalcore band opened proceedings. Their vocalist Reece Hayton was crazy; the space at the front of the stage turned into a one-man dancefloor as he gave everything he had! Their songs covered depression and anxiety while being backed by an extremely tight rhythm section ensuring that each instrument blended in perfectly. But Dissonants brought soul, passion, and melody that really stood out, with the new songs sounding excellent.

Valensole brought a different vibe, a hard punk rock energy that lit up the room. They were a contrast to Dissonants, with a faster sound and aggression to match. In addition to this aggression, they also brought a melodic side influenced by Nirvana and Foo Fighters. It worked very well, showing that they could be going onto bigger things.

As for Blood Command, the stage was set with some big amps at the back. I could see that this sound would be huge, but wondered how all the members of blood Command would fit onstage. The soundcheck featured spooky, eerie synths and the anticipation grew instantly. Once they came onstage, Blood Command’s sound was furious and every bit as frenetic as I had hoped it would be.

The band had a huge sense of melody in amongst the aggression, with plenty of sing-along choruses, including ‘Alarm All Assassins’ and ‘High Five For Life.’ The stage presence was incredible to watch, with singer Karina Ljone’s powerful vocals and the tight musicianship felt extremely exciting to be a part of. The sweaty intimacy of The Joiners was a perfect setting for them, although the venue was far from a sell-out, a few members of the audience including myself were really getting into it. Having not been to a proper gig in a while, watching Blood Command reminded me of how inspiring live music can be.

I think with the way things are going for Blood Command, and especially with their recent album ‘Cult Drugs’ capturing their energy superbly, they’re not going to play small venues much longer and should be ones to look out for on the live circuit.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos

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