Santa Cruz – Bad Blood Rising

Finnish hard rock band Santa Cruz are due to release their third studio album, Bad Blood Rising, on 10 November 2017.

By Jim McKay

Two years on from the eponymous second album, Bad Blood Rising marks the band’s departure from Spinefarm Records to the newly launched, Las Vegas based M-Theory Audio.

Formed in 2007, Santa Cruz broke through into the forefront of 1980s hard rock and glam metal revival with their 2013 debut album Screaming for Adrenaline.

Bad Blood Rising is true to form with the band’s theme: a high-energy, 21st century take on rock’s most decadent era, every song designed for live performances. Content-wise, Bad Bood Rising is full of great tracks. The sound is aggressive and melodic with original riffs and lots of shredded guitar solos.

As with their previous work, influences from more modern genres such as metalcore and industrial rock stand out immediately, which is likely to put off a lot of die-hard rock and metal fans. However, this is nothing new for the band and the album should go down well with their fanbase.

Modern influences aside, Santa Cruz are very much a hard rock band at core, and while the new release will undoubtedly find its way into album charts it is still a great rock album which doesn’t feel too commercial.

The title song and opening track, Young Blood Rising, is reminiscent of Wasted & Wounded and We Are the Ones to Fall from album #2, but with a slightly heavier edge to the guitars and vocals; the same can be said for the second track, the party rock anthem River Phoenix.

Bad Blood Rising takes a slightly broodier turn in places – notably Bad Habits Die Hard – but always maintains their classic vibe. Drag Me Out of the Darkness is as close as we get to a ballad but is really more of an anthem, blending the group’s softer and heavier sides and showing up the quality of the production.

The nostalgic Breathe pays homage to Guns and Roses’ Patience and contrasts well with the rest of the album as the only real acoustic song, with Pure Fucking Adrenaline keeping up the bare-bones rock theme.

Voice of the New Generation‘s prominent synth line is definitely not from the 1980s and this is as far from their earlier sound as the album gets, with the exception of possibly River Phoenix (Part 2): the eleventh and final song plays like a bonus track, with a dance feel which would have sounded out of place on the earlier albums.

This album is by far the most sonically accomplished of the band’s three studio releases, upholding the band’s characteristic sound with a carefully detailed mix and sounding quite far removed from the notably more raw-sounding production of their earliest work.

Overall, this album will go down well with most listeners, especially fans. Check their website for European tour dates from October to December 2017 as Santa Cruz are best live and their new material should make for a great set list.

Bad Blood Rising by Santa Cruz is out 10 November 2017.