It’s hard to believe that over 30 years ago, I saw Bloodgood open for Stryper at the Paramount Theater in Seattle. Even though I was fired up to see Stryper for the first time, I’ll never forget being blown away by Bloodgood. They brought an energy to the stage that I’d never witnessed before. But more important than energy was the gospel. These four guys made it very clear they were Christians who just happened to be musicians who loved to rock. The music never eclipsed the gospel; rather the gospel was only magnified by their music.
Bloodgood has returned stronger than ever with their first studio album in 22 years, Dangerously Close. The rockers from Seattle are older and more seasoned. David Zaffiro left the band years ago and has since been replaced by the virtuoso, Paul Jackson and more recently, Oz Fox from Stryper.
The album starts off strong with Lamb of God, an anthem that delights in the person and work of Christ:
He stretched out His arms to hold you/Gave up His life to know you/Lamb of God
On His knees He washed our feet/Poured His blood on the mercy seat/Told us to love one another/Lay down your life for your brother
Child on Earth (a song that may prove to be the best track on the album) contrasts the righteousness of God and sinfulness of man in stark terms. The Messiah is presented as the Virgin born, Son of God – the only One who can cover a sin-stained world. It is a celebration of the proto-evangelium (the first gospel) that articulates the redemptive purposes of the Messiah that Scripture prophecies in Genesis 3 and Isaiah 9:
My sin, my sin, has gone away/The Lord has set me free/My friend, my friend beginning and end, the Lord has died for me/Virgin birth, child on earth/Crucified, pierced his side
The child grew and the cradle fell, crushing the head of the snake from hell
Several songs have a vertical dimension that catapult listeners to Scripture soaked lyrics. I Will has a psalm-like feel that exalts the living God and expresses trust in his Providential care. Bread Alone expresses complete confidence in God’s all-sufficient grace. Pray is a call to humble submission before a holy God who delights to answer the cry of His people. And Run the Race challenges Christ-followers to live faithfully before God.
On a musical note: The guitar work on Dangerously Close is a feast for the ears. These guys are a real delight to listen to. I’ll admit my biases up front. I’m a huge fan of Paul Jackson and Oz Fox, two guitar players who are underrated and deserve more attention.
Bloodgood is a different band with a different sound. But one thing remains the same. Bloodgood is committed to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, a message that rings loudly throughout their new album. The cross stands at the center of the lyrical content – an emphasis that is missing in a lot of Christian music these days. Dangerously Close is a solid offering that should please longtime fans and welcome new listeners to a very good band.