By Blood Alone
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By Blood Alone

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"Sailing the Seas of Blood"

By Sam Pfeifle

Two straight weeks reviewing discs with nautical themes in their packaging and not a sea shanty to be found. These are strange days, indeed. Last week, Anna’s Ghost just seemed to like old-looking stuff, and the schooner (or some other big sailboat—I’m no boat buff) on their disc fit the bill. This week, By Blood Alone have “A Mediterranean Brigantine Drifting onto a Rock Coast in a Storm,” by none other than Willem van de Velde, the Younger, gracing the cover of their Seas of Blood. The painting and record both are fairly epic.

Just as you’d be seriously remiss in skipping a chance to see van de Velde II at the Rijksmuseum during a jaunt through Amsterdam, so too should you take the opportunity to take a listen to By Blood Alone’s first full-length disc, an eight-track work spanning 50 minutes that offers a polished and original sound, mixing elements of progressive rock, goth, classical and pop-rock to create a listenable and engaging series of seascapes.

BBA get much of their goth reputation from their look and lyrical themes, trading, too, on Cruella’s languid and fantastical delivery to lend a Romantic (like the artistic movement) feel to everything they do. They are neither as grim and mechanical as Skinny Puppy, however, nor as monotone and humorless as Depeche Mode’s darker days. Instead, they are often a little bit catchy, easy to sing along to, and when they do get aggressive and dark, it’s more in a Rush way than anything else.

They’ll even teach you a thing or two. Their opening “Serpentarius” gets out of the gate very prog, indeed, with John Graveside’s pin-point guitar tightly coordinated with the rhythm section of Jack Doran on bass and Runtt on drums. A 7:30-long ode to the mythical man who invented medical practice, and was thusly struck down by Zeus for depriving Hades of his residents, the song offers Cruella initially querying, “What’s the 13th sign?,” an allusion to the constellation Ophiuchus, Greek for Serpentarius, discovered by Ptolemy in the 2nd century as one of 13 constellations through which the sun travels. The other 12 are astrological signs, but Ophiuchus was passed by in the mathematical desire for 12 to divide nicely into 360.

A keyboard line like a theramin from Jenny Williamson keeps the vibe mystical before the first major instrumental break, where layers of guitars repeat riffs in chord progressions. While progressive as a genre-describer can often just mean nerdy guys into mathematical music and lots of black, By Blood Alone hold true to prog’s basic ideal, also exemplified locally by the likes of Dreadnaught, to actually push contemporary music forward, and their mix of rhythms, keys, and sound levels is always intriguing.

(One other interesting note about Serpentarius: It was the supernova that appeared inside its boundaries in 1604 that Galileo used to show that Aristotle was a dummy with that whole changeless-heavens argument. How’s that for progressive?)

The best thing about this disc is the variety of approaches the band employ, from the simple piano-and-Cruella opening of “Undead Friend” to the heavy grind of “Lovely Lies,” which quickly gives way to dream-like keyboards and Cruella turning singer/songwriter: “I told you once before, that I don’t want your love/ Don’t hold me back, and then you fall to your knees/ Begging me please to take you back into my heart.”

Here, you always get your come-uppance. “Friend” flows into a quick waltz, after a couple of minutes where you wonder whether you might have slipped in the Les Mis soundtrack. The rhythm is held in the piano and cymbals while the keyboards lay down a string section that introduces a third movement with a minor-key fallout straight from the jazz songbook before the song finishes like a big ‘80s ballad. Just when you thought “Lovely Lies” was your standard break-up tune, Cruella steps it up a notch: “I hate you, despise you, just leave me alone.”

Like Camera Obscura’s Tracyanne Campbell, though not as high in the register, Cruella is consistently able to get dark and moody with her content without being dark and moody with her delivery. She and the songwriting combine to make seven-minute-plus tunes—say, “Nidhogg,” about the mythical Norse dragon known alternately as the tearer of corpses and the malice striker as it gnaws at the tree of life—seem almost like they end too soon. And they have further foresight not to put too many tracks on the disc or ask too much of their audience.

The final cut, “Little Lady Lillit” is a sub-three-minute piece of dessert after seven main courses. With a piano like a music box, Cruella triples her vocals into a schoolyard chant about a girl who’s “evil through and through”; to “wreck and crumble, this is what she’d do.” It’s evil in a fun way, and it ends with a purposefully sour note and an infectious giggle.

Who says goths don’t know how to have fun? - Portland Phoenix


"Seas of Blood (review)"

by Wendy Deschenes

“A painter paints pictures on canvas, But
musicians paint their pictures on silence.”
- Leopold Stokowski

October of this year brought with it the much-anticipated full-length release of Portland based By Blood Alone’s Seas of Blood. Containing haunting lyrics, powerful guitar riffs, thumping bass lines, excellent drumming and elegant piano/keyboard pieces, Seas of Blood has something for every musical palate and does not disappoint those who hunger for true auditory stimulation and entertainment.

Each song has its own bewitching story to tell and comes to life with an exceptional use of orchestration which is accompanied by the beautifully dark lyrics. The music contains an extraordinary use of timing changes so it not only grabs your attention but can also lull you into the very story lines of the songs themselves. The title track, “Seas of Blood”, is a haunting love story about a widow who has lost her love to the sea. The lengthy introduction gives an opportunity to be drawn into the melancholy feel of the story. Along with the variable dynamics of the percussion and excellent guitar riffs, the piano plays a pivotal roll in the song. Remarkably, the song is only seven minutes long, but you’ll feel like you’ve just watched a full-length movie. Another exceptional use of the piano can be found on track 3, “Undead Friend”. The magnificent changes between the verses and choruses as well as the use of orchestration add a significant fullness to this masterpiece. There is an uncompromising level of talent and professionalism on this album. Categorizing themselves as Progressive Goth Metal, By Blood Alone have found their niche and honed their skill to the peak of perfection. Theirs is a band that adds credence and validity to Maine’s diverse music community, and Seas of Blood is the proof. - Maine Music Association


"Seas of Blood (review)"

Don't be fooled by the band's name or title of this CD-Portland Maine's By Blood Alone are not some deathly blackened thrash metal act by any means. Seas of Blood, despite being distributed by none other than Relapse Records, is about as far from extreme metal as you can get. This is majestic, often times gothic & Celtic, progressive rock music, with just enough heavy rock muscle to almost push things into the metal category. Leading the charge here is lead vocalist Cruella, whose clean & soaring delivery floats over the top of crunchy riffs and plenty of symphonic keyboards. Many of the arrangements are epic in scope, with lengthy tracks like "Serpentarius", "Nidhogg", "Lovely Lies", and "Deny Yourself" having a sort of Nightwish-meets-Deep Purple-meets-Ayreon feel to them, thanks to the layered vocals, raging keys, and heavy guitar riffs. The more tender pieces like "Undead Friend", "Little Lady Lillit", and the title track, don't impress quite as much, but still show a band that knows how to put together melodies and house with within an atmospheric & gothic framework. One thing needs to be mentioned, and that is that the production on this CD is fairly flat, and at times does this band a little bit of injustice. John Graveside's guitars never really seem to leap out at you, nor do the keyboard textures from Jenny Williamson. Cruella's vocals are mixed too high, and there's just not enough bombast in the mix to really drive these songs to the levels that they need to be at. It's a shame because I think the material warrants a more potent and symphonic production, and it didn't quite get it. I'm curious as to what one of the top-of-the-line producers in the progressive power/prog metal genre could have done here?

Seas of Blood shows a lot of promise, and it's pretty safe to say with a little seasoning and stronger production By Blood Alone have all the tools to someday compete with acts like Nightwish, Epica, Within Temptation, and After Forever.

-Pete Pardo
Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars - Sea of Tranquility


"Surprise of the Month"

As the one being in charge of running a small business, I know it full well about trying to present your product/materials to many a customer. Persistence and follow-up is absolutely essential if you want your name to become known. Being an unsigned metal band – you have to do many of the same things, like pushing no-good deadbeat reviewers to give your band a fair shake. So I was glad when By Blood Alone guitarist John Graveside (here is an appropriate last name for a metal artist) reminded me about the package he sent. Knowing how it hurts when people simply flush your hard work without even giving it a chance, I have gone back and given Seas of Blood several more listens, as the few first less attentive tries did not hook me as much.

Perhaps it was the word “gothic” which set out some preconceived notions and expectations. By Blood Alone, hailing from Portland, Maine, is anything but a young band taken up by the Evanescence popularity or the images of Epica on their US jaunt with Kamelot. There is something in this band which transcends the genre, blending in the elements from many walks of music, some even less metal than others, that makes By Blood Alone difficult to categorize, and also demands extra attention to fully appreciate.

Metal vs. rock debate aside, I found Seas of Blood to lean largely on John Graveside’s guitar, be it the warbling riff and mid-Eastern bazaar solo of the epic opener "Serpentarius", up tempo Iron Maiden gallop of "Wants Me Dead", heavy thrashing on "Deny Yourself" or Celtic flavored "Nidhogg". The difference between By Blood Alone and some other more progressive leaning bands is that By Blood Alone does not pack a dozen of different riffs into one composition. Instead, their focus on songwriting tends to be on parts fitting together, flowing along seamlessly, as well as catchy choruses, without turning them entirely into a bowl of sap. Jenny Williamson on keyboards helps with both “gothic” and “catchiness” notions a great deal, but does not overwhelm and does not detract. If in "Serpentarius" she is responsible for a main chorus melody, then the title track sees almost a sensual interplay between keyboards and guitars.

It is difficult to imagine the vocals in By Blood Alone to be handled not by a female, especially after you heard the album for a few times. Cruella certainly leads the way and does put a full imprint onto the band with her songs, lyrics and, most importantly, vocal approach. Without straining she can take high notes and sound anywhere from boyish to sultry and charming ("Serpentarius"), but at times can come off a little odd, shifting into her own tune plane, away from the rest of the music ("Wants Me Dead").

Seas of Blood certainly does not fall in a rut, demonstrating a wide variety of songs. "Serpentarius" and "Wants Me Dead" are a quick one-two opening punch, "Nidhogg" is a Cruachan-styled rocking groove, and "Deny Yourself" (an older song, I have done research) ending with a classical music inspired gothic grand finale with over the top orchestration. To diversify even further the band includes a couple of piano driven interludes, a tongue-in-cheek humor "Little Lady Lillit" and a little Halloweeny cartoonish "Undead Friend", which is saved by a great waltz towards the end. All in all, I caught my attention skipping away only with "Lovely Lies". Not that the album could not have been further improved. Along with bigger than life melodies ("Seas of Blood"), others materialize as way too poppy ("Wants Me Dead"). Jack Doran can bring his bass, evidence the basslines taking on the life of their own in the title track or pulsating Nidhogg, so the production can certainly stand some more bottom end to make him further audible.

Not after the cheap laurels of Euro gothic metal, By Blood Alone instead chooses its own two feet to stand on. Striving for professional appearance, the album comes in a digipack with a beautiful cover art by the Dutch 17th century painter, capturing violent power of the sea. Major record labels would do well to take a look into By Blood Alone direction, and hopefully they will bring some further needed polish without morphing the band into a faceless ocean of many other popular artists.

-Alex-

Killing Songs : Serpentarius, Nidhogg - Metalreviews.com


"Seas of Blood (review)"

You know you're onto a winner when you recieve an e-mail from John Graveside of By Blood Alone. Pseudonym or not, that's a damn good name to have in the music business, where the signal to noise ratio routinely favors the latter. But as they say, money talks and bullshit walks. By Blood Alone may remain steadfast in their commanding, dense and challenging first effort, Seas of Blood. This is gothic metal eschewing traditional, generic themes and patterns and taking a route less traveled - one across the merciless ocean, gathering melodies and textures from lands afar much like a spice merchant of the turbulent Imperial age.

Seas of Blood most certainly succeeds in evoking a maritime feel in their music, be it vast crunchy verses countered by swaying, undulating passages in "Serpentarius", or a wall of pulsing 70s style synths and galloping riffs ala the classic era of Iron Maiden, flowing effortlessly into thankfully more conceptual, rather than self-indulgent soloing in "Wants Me Dead". The album strikes me immediately like a confluence of Tristania and Iron Maiden playing classic 70s prog-infused Celtic (or even Gaelic) melodies. In "Undead Friend", they surprise by offering a sombre, minimalistic piano-driven track that reminds me at least of dark cabaret acts such as The Dresden Dolls (possibly because vocalist Cruella shares Amanda Palmer's range but adds more to the table with her projection) which segues into sweeping strokes of gothic melody and tender flourishes.

This album is certainly takes to keeping one guessing, taking the Queensryche approach to progressive metal by shoring up their songwriting with sublety instead of show, unlike the epic wankfests of Dream Theater. Their songs take on an extra dimension, such as the Gaelic inspired "Nidhogg" which grooves a bit like one of Thin Lizzy's more homeland-inspired tracks. Their basslines are also much more involving than I thought they would be, as they take the lead in certain sections but the poor mixing and thin production detracts from its intended forcefulness. This is a major issue, unfortunately; I had to turn the disc up many times to make sense of the intricate and multifaceted soundscape they were attempting to present, especially evident in the orchestrally-inspired "Deny Yourself". (Although the silly "shanty" of "Little Lady Lillit" was a nice cheeky surprise at the end, though; but methinks it has more humor to it when played live than put on this record, however.)

Insofar as conceptual metal albums go, this one does seem to lag just behind the classics. Most of it is rather downtempo and relies on drawn out and very gradual and elliptic riffing, such as on the rockier "Lovely Lies" which, if compressed into about half of its eight minute running time would make for a satisfying gothic "radio-friendly" rock song. Seas of Blood is for fans who can be patient with their metal; who enjoy scenery rather than action such as Mastodon or, for a more pertinent example, older Paradise Lost or My Dying Bride. This was by all means ambitious and By Blood Alone have returned from their maiden (full length) voyage mostly very successfully. It's consistent and intelligent, but lacks decent production and overall drive to keep one gripped until the very end.

Rating: 7.9 / 10

Standouts: Serpentarius, Undead Friend, Nidhogg - Harm.us


"Seas of Blood (review)"

Seas of Blood, the debut CD from New England’s By Blood Alone, delivers eight energetic tracks that showcase the band’s unique style of theatrical metal and progressive rock. Most of the songs are lengthy epics that clock in at over 7 minutes with varying tempo and melody changes. The band’s frontwoman, Cruella, does a nice job on the breathy ballads, but her vocals sound somewhat restrained on the edgier rock and metal songs. Tracks like “Lovely Lies,” “Seas of Blood,” and “Deny Yourself” begin with moody instrumental intros that set a shadowy atmosphere, and the creepy “Little Lady Lillit” sounds like a sinister nursery rhyme that belongs in a Tim Burton movie. Seas of Blood is a solid debut release that offers an eclectic array of progressive hard rock.

— Maxx - Dark Realms magazine


"Seas of Blood (review)"

“Undead Friend.” “Seas of Blood.” “Little Lady Lillit.”

With titles like that...and of course, considering the band’s name, one would easily assume that By Blood Alone is a gothic metal band. It’s a reasonable guess, and fairly accurate, but By Blood Alone ups the ante with a fairish touch of old school progressive metal a la Iron Maiden at their galloping best.

Fronted by Cruella on vocals, whose darkly tinged, throaty alto voice presents the 8 dark tales that make up Seas of Blood, the group’s debut release, By Blood Alone largely avoids the pitfalls and traps that litter the path of gothic metal. There are no beauty and the beast vocals here, nor are there extensive sections aspiring to Latin or Arabesque grandeur, which tend to remain mired in grotesque pomposity. In lieu of this, the listener is graced with an addictive, absinthe and spice soaked sonic brew that offers more than just your typical slice of dark metal.

Take the album’s opening track, “Serpentarius,” as an example. Thrashy rhythm guitar opens the track, sounding like a typical mid-1980’s SF area metal band. Short bursts of synth strings break the beat, followed by what sounds like one of the most accurate violin patches ever committed to digital keyboard memory. By Blood Alone’s rhythm section (Runtt on drums and Jack Doran on bass) gallop along while Jenny Williams contributions on keyboards keep this song firmly this side of the progressive metal dividing line. John Graveside lets fly with a solo that relies more on tone than flashy runs of notes, dueling with Williams’ keyboards in a restrained, yet enjoyable fashion. Fairly typically for this album, “Serpentarius” is a bit of a lengthy track at 7:30, and it uses this time well, developing themes without falling prey to the temptation of jamming together disparate motifs that detract from the song rather than add to it.

“Undead Friend” opens with a totally different feel, focusing on quiet piano and fragile vocals. From any other band, the effect would be quaint; from By Blood Alone, the effect is that of sinister nursery room music box music. The song shifts to a slightly more music hall feel before synth strings and bass join the mix. The full band joining the fray around 4 minutes in comes not a moment too soon, as it would have been difficult to maintain listening interest without some kind of musical development from the basic theme/arrangement. The final minutes almost seem like a totally different song thanks to the heavier arrangement, and it suits the piece well. “Nidbogg,” the following track, picks up form here in grand epic metal fashion, with plenty of ornate organ playing and crunchy rhythm guitar playing. Especially enjoyable is an all too rare bass solo at 4:00, offering Jack Doran an opportunity to show what he’s capable of. While not flashy or technical, his solo does not disappoint.

I do think the mix could have been thickened just a touch...while highs are fairly crisp, and the bass thumps along pleasingly, mids seem weak by comparison. This softening in the middle frequencies robs the track of some of its grandness. I should make note here that this is a criticism I could wield against many bands on smaller indie labels; there often is simply not enough time/budget/whatever to get a mix to the same standards one would expect from a larger label or band. As such, it’s not something I would dock a band for (except under pretty extreme circumstances), but it is something to note.

“Lovely Lies” is this album’s ‘epic’ track, clocking in at just over eight minutes. A slower, almost power ballad opening soon gives way to full on attitude, a serpentine organ line winding though Graveside’s fuzzed rhythm guitar, while Cruella spits the lyrics out, dripping with venom and bile. The beat is infectious...I caught myself nodding along with the song time after time, and the shifts in tone and tempo add a lot to the composition. I think this is the song more prog metal fans will find most pleasing, as it offers perhaps the most complexity and variety of the material on Seas of Blood. The album’s title track, another seven-minute plus piece, presents the band at their most grandiose, with a richly orchestrated opening movement leading into a gorgeous vocal/piano duet that is neither stilted nor fake sounding. Lyrically, the song is intense as well, weaving a tale of love and loss at the cruel hands of the sea. “Seas of Blood” and “Lovely Lies” are, for this reviewer, the highlights on a solid debut, showing passion and intensity driven in different directions, and to differing ends.

“Little Lady Lillit” closes out the album and...well, to be honest, I’m not sure what to say about it. It sounds like it should be a nursery rhyme, but only if it had been written by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch or Donatien Alphonse-François de Sade. Piano and layered childlike vocals create an insane musical landscape. I’m not sure if I like it or not, but I do know one thing...the song is disturbing, nightmarish, and somehow fits the album like a steel fist in a velvet glove.

Add in some wonderfully evocative cover art, courtesy of the National Maritime Museum in the UK (William van de Velde’s “A Mediterranean Brigantine Drifting Onto a Rocky Coast in a Storm”), and you have a nice little package that complements the material held within.

For a first full length album (they have 1 EP currently available), By Blood Alone’s Seas of Blood shows promise. There are things that could be improved (a fuller, richer mix would only enhance these songs, imparting the weight and gravitas they deserve), but they are more technical quibbles than criticisms of the musicians. As a whole, Seas of Blood is a solid release that rewards across multiple listening sessions. Here’s to looking forward to future releases!

-Bill Knispel- - Progscape.com


"Love at First Sight?"

What's the musical equivalent of love at first sight? Whatever it may be, that's what happened when I first heard By Blood Alone. This is the style of Progressive Metal that Dark Symphonies used to put out a few years ago and my first thought was of one of their bands, Brave (who evolved from Arise From Thorns) and with both bands having a lady at the helm, it's an easy comparison to make. The biggest difference though, is the depth of By Blood Alone's songwriting. "Serpentarius" is a bold opening statement. In keeping with the cover artwork, there is a feeling of being at sea as the music has a very distinct ebb and flow. It also reminds me of Hawkwind's "Assassins of Allah". And I'll defy anyone that that doesn't hear the comparison. As a statement of intent, By Blood Alone show that they mean business from the off as there is no messing with this song. Although not quite as epic as Iron Maiden's "Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner", because of its stature, you just know this must be the bands signature tune. The feel good vibe continues into "Wants Me Dead" and By Blood Alone have hooked themselves a fan for life already. Unless they sell-out of course... which you just know will never happen. You can feel what they put into their music, this is most definitely created for love, not money.

As well as the epic feel of their songs, they also have a darker side, funnily enough both of which were written by vocalist Cruella. "Undead Friend" is a Gothic waltz that wouldn't be out of place in a Tim Burton film, which isn't a comparison I should have made before getting to "Little Lady Lillit". Imagine the darkest, most fucked up nursery rhyme your mind will let you create, then mix that with "The Happy Tree Friends" and merge that with the mind of the aforementioned Mr Burton, and you have the classic that is "Little Lady Lillit". And that little ditty is a perfect way to end this album.

To read an interview I've just done with the band click here, and then go buy the album via www.bybloodalone.com or pick it up via Relapse's mailorder. Brilliant band, great album and most deserving of your attention.

-Steve Green- - Live4Metal.com


"Blood Alone CD's a reason to rejoice"

The witching hour is Saturday night as my favorite Goth band, By Blood Alone, headlines at Geno's in celebration of their new album, "Seas of Blood."
Last week at the Music Foundation event, I finally met the dude I've been e-mailing with for at least three years: By Blood Alone's John Graveside. I gave him a spontaneous big hug, 'cause I'm a chronic hugger, and asked him to send some of that happy, huggy energy to BBA's vocalist, Melynda "Cruella" Amann. As many of you know, Amann was diagnosed with breast cancer in August, and John told me that she's doing well, although the chemotherapy treatments are hell on earth.

If all goes as planned, Cruella's gonna rally on Saturday night and join her band for an encore song. Melynda, I'm sending you more good vibrations than Marky Mark can shake a stick at.

As for the "Seas of Blood" record. I charmed Graveside into sending me a secret link and was able to listen to all eight tracks. By the time I was through, every stitch of my clothing had turned dark black and the smile on my face was sinister.

"Serpentarius," for example, is double trouble with Graveside's stinging guitar and Jenny Williamson's hypnotizing keyboards. Jack Doran's bass and the drums from Runtt further guide Cruella's vocal quest for the 13th sign. The song flirts with eight minutes and takes an unexpected turn into a quiet, moody landscape about two-thirds into it. There's a sense of foreboding and a terrific, complex array of instrumental and vocal sounds that escort the song back up to its feverish pace.

I know I harp a lot on the whole "Goth" angle, but let's be clear: By Blood Alone's sound goes way beyond that. There's a melodic intelligence ever-present, and you'll be able to rock out while also hiding yourself away in a quiet, secret place.

"Undead Friend" starts off with piano and simple percussion. "Flesh is falling off your bones, while you stand in front of me," sings Cruella, sounding divine as synthesizers make their way into the song. Then, out of nowhere, drums and Graveside's guitar kick in. The song doesn't get out of second gear, and that's one of the things I love about it. It's got a big, power- ballad feel to it, but instead of corny lyrics, Cruella is singing about rotting bodies. Two thumbs up!

"Lovely Lies" will grab you with a leather-clad hand by the throat and slam you against a brick wall, but you won't complain. This is another one that melds electric guitar with keyboards sublimely. An organ gives it a dirge quality as Cruella's words tell an ex, no way Jos.

Visit By Blood Alone online at By Blood Alone. While you're at it, head over and bookmark benefitformelyanda.org to keep tabs on Cruella's recovery and to see the many ways you can help.

By Blood Alone CD release show & Halloween Party, with Big Coffin Hunters and Project Seven, 9 p.m. Saturday, Geno's Rock, Club, 21+, $5 - Portland Press-Herald


Discography

Seas of Blood (2007)
Eternally (2005)

Photos

Bio

Highlights:

BY BLOOD ALONE received two awards in the 2009 Portland Phoenix Best Music Poll: BEST CATEGORY DEFYING ACT and BEST FEMALE VOCALIST, and were nominated in those same categories in 2006, 2007, and 2008.

BY BLOOD ALONE has toured across the Northeast US and performed with Joey Belladonna (Anthrax), Michale Graves (Misfits), Goatwhore (MetalBlade), Seven Witches (Candelight), Brand New Sin (Century Media), Ocean (Important) and Shroud of Bereavement (Screaming Ferret), as well as countless other regional and local acts.

Both of BY BLOOD ALONE'S cds have been placed on the Portland Phoenix's year end Top-10 list. ("Seas of Blood" in 2007 and "Eternally" in 2005).

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You’ll not see a head-banging, raucous crowd at stage-front of a By Blood Alone show: instead, you'll find a captivated audience unmoving and silent – locked into the moment. Though critics praise this 5-piece progressive metal band from Portland Maine for their complex-but-seamless song writing, determination to dodge stylistic cliches and all-around gothic grandeur, that's not what makes By Blood Alone unique. The key element that sets this band apart is its approach and attitude. One never feels as though By Blood Alone are truly content with the body of their work, but always reaching into the murky darkness before them for what mystery lies ahead.

Formed in 2004, By Blood Alone proudly sound like no one else in their hometown, and few elsewhere. By virtue of association, they might be compared to the likes of Finland's operatic Nightwish or Florida's decidedly progressive Kamelot, and though that is certainly good company to be in, such comparisons are somewhat inaccurate. The songs on By Blood Alone's 2007 cd Seas of Blood possess a cinematic quality, brought to life by keyboard tones that bring to mind classic horror and 50's science fiction films that sit alongside crucial sections of dramatic orchestration. At any given moment you are as likely to hear a solitary piano delicately underscoring vocalist Cruella’s quiet whispers as you are a relentless guitar/bass/drums gallop of bone-crunching verses propelling her wail of contempt. A sultry mix of bitter loss, inglorious defeat and even a bit of gallows humor can all be culled from the furious aural denouement unleashed upon the audience before them. These are not simply encores – they are epilogues.

2005 saw By Blood Alone map out their path with the debut EP Eternally. Ambitious in scope, it set the stage for what is clearly their pinnacle achievement, Seas of Blood. Amongst accolades from numerous press outlets, Portland's primary arts weekly The Phoenix has twice placed By Blood Alone on their year-end Top-10 list, in 2007 for Seas of Blood and in 2005 for Eternally. These achievements can be added to a string of stunning live performances across New England with the likes of Joey Belladonna of Anthrax, Metal Blade Recording artists Goatwhore, as well as former Misfits vocalist Michale Graves and countless other local and regional acts. 2008 will see the band continue to promote Seas of Blood and drive crowds to their auditory revival theater.