Blanket Hill - Kaizen

6 songs
16:23 minutes
***** ***


When I grabbed a copy of Blanket Hillís debut EP Kaizen, I was unaware that they were the successors to Order Of The Oceans, a really promising hardcore band that I got to listen to, review and like two years ago. Kaizen means improvement in Chinese, and this probably makes sense when you listen to the six short tracks feature on the EP. Where Order Of The Oceans was already quite good, Blanket Hill are improving strongly by building on their qualities and virtues, and trimming the sound to the absolutely necessary.

The opener Jersey Swamps begins with a spoken word intro from the TV series The Sopranos before the remaining minute and a half offers stomping mid-tempo hardcore which has a very old-school feeling and couldnít be further away from the not hip anymore but still somehow exceedingly practised metalcore movement. The following Wrong Turn is adding some more late Eighties influenced hardcore, varying between mid-tempo and faster parts. There might be some similarities to early Biohazard, fortunately minus the macho bullshit agenda. Truth Be Told comes with some nice guitar work, and then itís off to the second half where the title track starts in a very metal way, making it no surprise that Slayer are a major influence to Blanket Hill. T.L.D. also comes with retro thrash metal parts that combined with the hardcore foundation give the band a very successful crossover sound that makes me feel twenty-five years younger. This song even contains a guitar solo. The concluding Marking Time is another fine example of the bandís sound, giving me even the impression that the EPís second half is somewhat stronger than its first one.

Co-financed by the Ministry of Culture, itís of course ironic to see how a genre that used to be quite rebellious is now taking advantage of tax money, but why not? In the case of Blanket Hill, we are in the presence of a young band that really seems to do what they like, not giving a fuck about any contemporary trends. Sure, the music they play comes probably from a time when the musicians werenít even born yet, but they show the genre a lot of respect and leave the listener with a good quarter hour of music that is really quite excellent. Blanket Hill may only have been founded in late 2014, but they are already one of the hottest underground secrets around.

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