From the first riffs of Santa Cruz’s third album, Bad Blood Rising, you know you’re in for a wild rock ‘n roll ride.
The rockers from Finland cite Skid Row and Guns ‘n Roses as influences for their modern spin on glam rock. You can definitely hear the ghosts of glam as Johnny, Archie, Middy, and Taz take you back to the days of leather, hairspray, and whatever else was happening on the Sunset Strip back in ’88. However, much of Santa Cruz’s music still sounds fresh, thanks to the lyrics and some elements of modern hardcore and metal.
The first track,”Young Blood Rising,” is a heavy anthem dripping with attitude. The “we’re young and we’re bad ass” theme continues with “River Phoenix” and “Fire Running Through Our Veins,” both songs you’ll be humming long after the last notes ring out.
Bad Blood Rising does have some mellow moments. The highlight of Santa Cruz’s ballad game being “Drag Me Out of the Darkness.” That chorus is just made for a teary-eyed sing-along, and brings a mesmerizing guitar run that really compliments the song. “Breathe” is a bit of a nod to the late ’90’s/early 2000’s sentimental rock tunes we all secretly love. “Get Me Out of California” is a true ’80’s ballad. I can just see the guys in a slow motion, black and white tour montage while I listen to this one.
Two thirds into the album, Santa Cruz brings a nu metal flair to their dirty glam riffs with “Back From the Dead” and “Bad Habits Die Hard.” These songs really show the band’s musical creativity, using heavy riffs and guitar tricks to bring different moods to various parts of the songs.
The full-on metal returns with “Pure Fucking Adrenaline.” This is one of my favorite songs on the album, as drummer Taz really gets a chance to drive “Pure Fucking Adrenaline” into a true banger.
The closing track, a slower reprise of “River Phoenix,” is actually a big highlight of Bad Blood Rising. The melody is so good, and the lyrics hit harder when it’s slowed down, with an epic buildup to the final chorus.
Santa Cruz truly seems like a band that is meant to be experienced live. They are supporting Fozzy on the Judas Rising tour through March and April. If you have tickets to see Jericho and the guys, I recommend you show up early and rock out with Santa Cruz.