“It makes no sense to me that when people think about heavy music, the first thing that comes into their head is Slayer or Metallica,” shrugs Bloodbather bassist and vocalist Kyler Millo. “Don’t get me wrong, I respect those bands, and if I were them and people kept coming to see me then I would still stick around, but surely the perception of this music should have changed after 20 years? There are younger bands doing great things and we need to be thought about in those terms too.”
Something is definitely changing in metal right now. For the first time in possibly decades, young bands are no longer content to just be a footnote in heavy music’s history. Bloodbather are one such band, and although the Florida two-piece only have a handful of releases to their name in their short career, they are ambitious enough to already have their eye on modern metal’s crown.
“Things are changing. It’s a slow process, but I can feel something,” continues Kyler. “We just have to be ready to grab that baton when it comes our way, and the best way for us to do that is to make music that is like no one else.”
While it probably isn’t quite accurate to say that absolutely no one sounds like Bloodbather, their mix of death metal extremity, punishing hardcore bounce, weird and unsettling ethereal soundscapes and maddening electro freakouts certainly grabs the ear.
“I don’t see us as a hardcore band at all, that’s number one,” Kyler laughs. “I’m the only member of the band that has come from the hardcore scene, the rest of the guys really love either early deathcore, or goth stuff like Marilyn Manson. I also listen to a lot of British electronic music, and artists like Björk and Imogen Heap as well. All of that stuff goes into the melting pot for our sound and, honestly, if you want a genre, I don’t know what you would call our band.”
Kyler is quick to point out that Bloodbather is very much a project in its infancy and that, as great as what they have released so far is, we’re a while away from hearing what they are truly capable of.
“I can’t really sit here and say that we are this unique thing right now,” he shrugs. “But I promise you that we will be. The things we are working on now will take us to places that I genuinely don’t think any other heavy bands have been.”
Interestingly, there is a touch of paranoia about Kyler when he talks about his impatience of getting to a place where Bloodbather will fully stand out from the crowd. And, crucially, making sure they get there before anyone else.
“I think about what I want us to sound like so much that it actually stresses me out,” he says with not even a hint of jest in his voice. “We have to nail this before someone else does. I have friends in bands and I never let them know what I’m listening to – if I do then they’re going to do it before us, and that can’t happen. I want Bloodbather to be one of those bands that, when people hear anything that sounds like us, they just immediately go, ‘Oh, well they’re obviously ripping Bloodbather off.’ I want us to be that definitive band.”
Bloodbather’s ambition, both musically and for the scope of their career, is definitely something to be admired, but does Kyler really think that this generation of bands can truly stand up alongside the gods of metal’s glory years?
“Oh, absolutely,” is the emphatic response. “I look at a band like Code Orange and I think they’re as innovative and forward-thinking as any heavy band from any time in history. I really think that there is a chance that they will be thought of as the turning point in this scene, where everyone woke up and realised that metal had to change, and embrace change, to thrive.”
And when the revolution happens, you can be sure Bloodbather will be right there on the frontline.