Album Review: Blood Youth - 'Starve'

Photo Credit: Olli Appleyard

Photo Credit: Olli Appleyard

Buckle yourselves in for Blood Youth’s darkest material to date.

At the mere mention of the name Blood Youth, you should already be warming up your necks for some headbanging, so head this warning that the band’s sophomore album will leave your aching if you do not limber up properly. "Starve" is a force to be reckoned with loaded with incendiary riffs and pulverizing melodies that leave you at the record’s mercy.

Blood Youth lure their listener into a false sense of safety with instrumental opening "{51/50}" and its crackly static meets hip-hop influences, seeing "Starve" make tiny incision lines before slowly cutting into you. A building opening sees textures layering on top of a harrowing guitar, before exploding into a volatile state of menacing riffs and eruptive drumming. With no time for pretence the lyrics dive straight into the deepest, loneliest parts of our thoughts as frontman Kaya Tarsus ponders, “Has this world given up on me?”. While there’s uncertainty present on "Starve", "Cut Me Open" kicks things up a notch with a fighting comeback, presenting the rhetorical question "You want to know what it feels like? Medication and therapy". Holding back nothing, the refrain of ‘medication and therapy’ hammers home that desolate feeling, while the crushing instrumentals pound the thought provoking message straight into you. 

Distortion-heavy "Spineless" is laden with a brute force that rattles at the pain and desolation that is buried deep within the human condition. Directly addressing the listener, it encourages them to confront their own uncomfortable feelings, and "Nerve" is almost a response to this as Kaya pleads “Just set me free” in an achingly poignant chorus. "Waste Away" takes a slightly more melodic turn, but it does not lack any of the intensity of previous tracks, as blistering guitars roar through your ears, and in an almost tortured cry Kaya screams “You watch me waste away”. The fading ending leaving a lingering aftertaste, as a solitary riff finishes its lonely lament. 

"Keep You Alive" opens with fragile vocals showing a side to the band that has previously been lesser known, but fear not! Kaya’s annihilating vocal leaves its mark as well. Eleven-minute finisher "Exhale" is an agonising ending, with the extended length allowing the full extent of the emotion to be drawn out and put on a plate for you to digest. Balancing vulnerable lyrics with violent accompaniment, this is Blood Youth in their rawest form. "Starve" does not hesitate to plunge into hard-hitting experiences, and you’ll come out feeling like something cathartic just happened. 

Words by Athena Kam

"Starve" is out on Friday 22nd February via Rude Records.