Tim Williams (Vocals)
Mike Kennedy (Guitar)
Nick Rowe (Guitar)
Kyle Sanders (Bass)
Chris Hamilton (Drums)
bloodsimple don’t want to be judged by the merits of their past, but they know that it’s probably going to happen. And they’re ready.
“People are going to be blindsided by this record, and I can say that with confidence—I think this is my greatest work,” says frontman Tim Williams, who along with guitarist Mike Kennedy, spawned bloodsimple from the ashes of their acclaimed metal-core outfit Vision Of Disorder. While VOD were visionaries on the heavy music front, bloodsimple offered the pair an opportunity to stretch their musical muscles, further expanding their hard-hitting dynamics from sheer aggression and amplified rage, to subtle soundscapes that stress their uninhibited extremes.
“Tim and I had talked about doing this type of project for awhile, and when VOD came to an end, we realized that this didn’t have to be a project, it could be a band,” says Kennedy. The duo began collaborating on bloodsimple in late 2001, but it wasn’t until the addition of guitarist Nick Rowe nearly a year later that, according to Kennedy, “we really took off—That’s when we really started writing three-dimensional songs.”
Rowe, a classically trained musician with rock roots and more than a decade of jazz schooling, was sharpening his teeth as a producer when a mutual friend introduced him to the VOD veterans. “I knew nothing about them or their band when I first met them, and I think that was kind of good,” says Rowe. “No one knew what to expect, and it naturally worked itself out. When we met, we met in the middle, and the middle turned out to be something interesting.”
Interesting. Invigorating. Annihilating. And Pacifying. The opening track “Straight Hate,” swings like a sledgehammer with blinding fury, while its album-closing bookend, “Plunder,” sweeps the senses with a peaceful bidding and subdued calm. “Blood In Blood Out” is a soul-searing blitzkrieg of sensory overload, “The Leaving Song” takes a soul-searching sonic step back, while “Sell Me Out” offers a melody-infused medium, offering the keenest insight into a band that isn’t afraid to nurse the wounds they so readily inflict. “Lyrics are important to me, and I go over them with a fine-tooth comb,” says Williams. “I put love into them, I put hate into them, I speak to people through the music, and don’t want to be some stereotypical guy that’s writing about fucking chicks and getting drunk—that’s so cliché.” And cliché is something bloodsimple will never be.
“I wrote ‘Straight Hate,’ because I was reading articles about the war in Iraq, and how difficult it was for the soldiers over there. I wanted to write something where the words would help them through the day. It’s not political a song—I don’t care about the reasons they’re there, I just know that they are there, and it’s difficult for them and their families and that’s enough for me.”
Other songs range from the emotional release of a loved one on “Plunder,” written with Kennedy on a cliff in Maine, to the painted picture of a relationship gone south in “Sell Me Out.” Then there’s “Flatlined,” a song that took an emotional turn for Williams after it was written. “I actually wrote that song from the shoes of a junkie, it’s about addiction, the feeling you get from leading that life, and one day just never waking up. One of my best friends loved that song, and he ended up dying just like in the song—A song like that really sets us apart and makes bloodsimple what we are.”
“Half of this album is brutal, and the other half… You don’t even know where it’s coming from, yet it’s all a part of the same album,” says bassist Kyle Sanders, whose previous credits include the industrial-metal trailblazers Skrew, as well as a more recent tenure with Medication. “The dynamics of this band are just unreal—It never feels like it’s too fast or too slow, but there’s still a range that goes from one extreme to the other, without ever compromising either.”
It was that bold disregard for genre constraints—and their incendiary live show—that attracted Mudvayne frontman Chad Gray to bloodsimple, making them the first release on his Bullygoat Records imprint of Warner Bros. Records. “bloodsimple opened for Mudvayne in Philadelphia, and it didn’t take long for me to understand that they have the songs, energy, ability and live performance needed to captivate an audience.”
“This is the band I’ve always wanted to be in,” echoes drummer Chris Hamilton, a former member of Downset and Medication who’s also recorded for such scalding acts as Crisis and My Ruin. “bloodsimple is a collective, and everybody brings something really strong to the table, there’s no weak link in this band. Most of us have done this before as a profession, and we wanted this one to be the real one for the long haul.”
More than anything, says Kennedy, “bloodsimple is inspired by musical freedom.”
“I love straight-up heavy bands, but that’s not what we’re doing,” agrees the frontman. “I love to sing, and I love to scream, and the older you get, the more influences you have. We want to take listeners on a journey, and we sequenced the album that way—It takes you from the gate and smashes you in the head, but then it takes you to a different place. We didn’t want to run with the pack—We knew that bloodsimple would never be like other bands.”
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