The-Thermals-M-Review-No26THE THERMALS

Signed and Sealed in Blood


The sixth album from this Portland pop-punk trio sees a return to the kinds of scratchy vocals and trebly guitar strains heard in its earlier work. Freshly signed to Saddle Creek, the band wastes little time getting down to business. “Born to Kill” opens with Hutch Harris simultaneously striking his first guitar note and declaring, “I was born to kill / I was made to slay / unafraid to spill blood on the land.” “Faces Stay With Me” kicks in with the same urgency, and the majority of the album’s 10 songs clock in well under three minutes. All carry similar themes—fighting, fearlessness, solitude and violence—and the Thermals drill home these ideas with unquestionable conviction and hammering, cymbal-heavy beats. On tracks such as “Where I Stand,” Kathy Foster’s fast-finger basslines add bonus force, and even amid discordant sounds and dark—at times even desperate—lyrics, this punchy album takes its share of uplifting turns. –Shauna Farnell



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