The Bloodline: Razorstrike

Italy’s the Bloodline have been getting a lot of press recently, from good reviews in zines, to a stateside tour with DC’s own CounterAttack, to an upcoming CDEP on one of America’s finest labels, Reality Clash – word of mouth on the Italian skinheads has been all positives.

I recently acquired a copy of the Razorstrike LP to see what all the fuss was about. I’d heard them called “Negative Oi,” “Horror Skins,” and “Bleak Skinhead Rock-n-Roll” along with many other choice misnomers; upon listening to the record several times, I’d say those are pretty apt descriptions. I myself would liken the band to a combination of: the 4-Skins jamming with a few members of Rose Tattoo (bringing the rock) with lyrics by Misfits-era Glenn Danzig. Weird description, I know – but it’s all I can come up with.

The album’s main theme and lyrical content seems to be a horror movie come to life – with song titles like “Worms Under My Skin” and “Night of the Living Dead” the lyrical comparison to Danzig becomes obviously apparent – but these guys do it skinhead rocknroll-style, and it’s impressive all around.

The musicianship on the album is first rate; at times the playing almost reminds one of a more Oi-inspired Motorhead. Heavy and melodic. The vocals are tough-as-nails, gruff and fit the horror theme to a tee, as the singer at times sounds like a sledgehammer-wielding madman, and at other times like his victim. Many of the songs contain great ominous singalongs, which contribute to the eerie feel that this whole thing is a soundtrack to an old splatter film. The horror movie references don’t end there – the album contains audio samples from Night of the Living Dead, as well as a musical sample from fellow countrymen Goblin’s score to the Dario Argento classic Deep Red on the track by the same name.

My favorite cuts are “The Bloodline,” the awesome “Razorstrike” “Buried Alive” “The Basement,” and “Deep Red,” although the whole album is top notch.

The Bloodline are a refreshingly original skinhead band in today’s sorry world of “oi oi, boots, braces, byrds and bovver” crap. Pick it up and hear something damn good and damn different. The Bloodline are the real deal – heavy, horror-filled skinhead anthems. Believe the hype.

September 2003

Review by Sean “SMH” Holland

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