SANTA CRUZ - Bad Blood Rising
November 24, 2017, a year ago
Finnish glam-metal throwbacks Santa Cruz’s 2015 raucous self-titled sophomore release generated quite a buzz within the rock community. The band’s blend of Americanized arena rock and ‘80s glam metal — done with a modern and fresh edge — pays homage to frontrunners such as Guns N’ Roses, Skid Row and Bon Jovi. Santa Cruz exudes the debaucherous Sunset Strip swagger with a voracious flair. On its third full-length release, Bad Blood Rising, the band delivers 10 energetic tracks with a decent mix of melody and angst. Bad Blood Rising walks a thin line between heavy rock/metal and AOR/melodic hard rock. The band’s influences (old and new) are noticeable, yet blended in a fresh way.
Opener and title track combines a modern rock accessibility with a ferocious Skid Row-esque vibe, decorated with a huge anthemic chorus. This track best exemplifies what Santa Cruz does best, and the rest of the tracks follow suit as well. Follow-up track “River Phoenix” references the young fallen actor and the main vocal hook, “Going down like River Phoenix,” has the makings of a new catchphrase for the youth of America. “Fire Running Through Our Veins” introduces adventurous Asian melodies, while the band shows off its melodic, ballad-esque side with tracks “Drag Me Out Of The Darkness” and the Sweet-inspired album closer “Get Me Out Of California.” Another ballad, “Breathe,” immediately brings GN’R’s “Patience” to mind with its whistling intro, while “Pure Fucking Adrenaline” is an absolute cracker of a tune. Throughout the album, the burning trade-off fretwork of Arttu "Archie" Kuosmanen and Joonas "Johnny" Parkkonen are definite highlights. Santa Cruz isn’t doing anything highly original, and they mostly stick to a safe, predictable formula. However, if you’re looking for some accessible modern rock with anthemic, ‘80s metal riffs and energetic choruses, then Santa Cruz’s Bad Blood Rising will do the trick.