(Araya Records) 

Review by Mike O’Cull, independent music journalist. www.mikeocull.com 

Looking to get your ass kicked? Well, Sweet Blood is here all the way from South Florida to do exactly that. Together since 2014, Sweet Blood is an American hard rock band with a huge and aggressive sound, amazing vocals, and lyrics about war, fear, religion, substances, and free thought. The band’s debut release, Initiation, is a full-bore blast of the kind of rock music that moves stadiums full of people. It blends Trump-era rage with the sort of physically-fulfilling heavy grooves that made us all rock fans in the first place. The sound recalls giants like Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Pantera, and The Doors but maintains its own distinct identity.  

Sweet Blood is Salustiano Rodriguez on lead vocals, Kris Gainer on rhythm guitar, Jason Dean Moshen on lead guitar and vocals, Paul McBride on bass, and Mark Ellis on drums. As a unit, these guys hit hard and get listeners full attention. Even better, they can keep that attention with well-written songs that deliver the rock, hooks, and space in proportions that make them instantly memorable. “Dance,” from Initiation, is a great example of the Sweet Blood sound in action. Every single note is loaded with kinetic energy and, when the groove hits, the group swings like one big fist. The intricate vocal harmonies float like incantations above the fray and add just enough ear candy to kill. “Acid Ritual” is another heavy hitter that opens this set but there are highlights all the way through. Take a spin through deep cuts “Suicide Doors” and “WWIII” to hear for yourself. 

Sweet Blood is still a band on the way up but the road ahead looks pretty good. The group has an identifiable sound that blends present-day rock aggression with the best parts of old-school alternative metal. If you are looking for something real that rocks, buy this record today.