Between Wine and Blood by New Model Army
30 years have elapsed since the release of New Model Army’s debut album “Vengeance”, yet this unrivalled band from Bradford seems definitely embarked on its second youth. In 2013, “Between Dog and Wolf” already marked a before and after in New Model Army’s career, having drawn both popular and critical acclaim to the point of being the band’s best-selling album in decades, as well as reaching high positions in the main European charts. However New Model Army is an insatiable live beast and, as such, its resurgence was ratified by the fired-up audiences attending the band’s major Between Dog and Wolf European tour late last year. I know what I am talking about, because I’ve been an eye witness to one of those memorable rituals. Nearly in parallel with the long-awaited documentary film about the band’s history, New Model Army has launched its latest musical output in September. Entitled “Between Wine and Blood”, the new release comprises of a 6-track studio mini album and an 11-track live album recorded on the aforementioned tour.
The new songs on “Between Wine and Blood” give continuity to the preceding ones, embodying the band’s wholly owned stirring rawness in duly retrofit sounds that still retain the fierce, frankness and passion which have made New Model Army a legend. Once more, the renown producer Joe Barresi (Tool, Queens of the Stone Age… the list would be endless) has been in charge of the album’s mixing, making every instrumental line shine with its own natural light, adding his peerless analogue sonic touch and taking care of the arrangements to the finest detail. The alchemy between both New Model Army and Barresi works so well that, in the words of Justin Sullivan himself, “… beginning to feel very much as if Joe’s part of the NMA family”. One easily perceives it when listening to the band’s two last recorded offerings. What, moreover, is to be said about Joolz Denby’s evocative artworks, somehow a redolent of cave paintings, which have become an inseparable complement for NMA’s music. On this occasion, some devilish figures in black have been set in a raging contrast against completely red and splattered backgrounds, weaving in clues about the slight sound darkening of this album in comparison to the previous one. Again, a human dilemma arises from the title – dog or wolf, wine or blood – what, together with all of the above, connects this release with its predecessor while giving it a sort of murky B-side character.[…]