PROTOCOL especially captures the ears with their 2019 release, Bloodsport that includes all the adrenaline and slaughter back in hardcore. For a record that is only a mere 10 minutes, there really is some amazing production and destruction coming from the band. PROTOCOL is the angsty little brother where no walls can surround and no person can withhold.
As they burst in with “Bloodsport I,” there is something to be said about the immaculate intensity and animalistic factor that PROTOCOL grapples with. The first seconds are all about the introductory warning signs of a meltdown. The initial 12 seconds sculpt this mystery and smoke behind a cloak and dagger that shines in the darkness before the clutching stab into the Aorta artery.
Severing most of the brain function from the jump, PROTOCOL takes “Bloodsport I” and pushes it through lyrical shouts over aggressive instrumentation that could crack bone through soundwaves. Describing, however, “Is pigment a permit? Am I vermin? That blood I bleed, those breaths I take – are they worthless?”
The instrumentation ramps up and continues to fire off in sporadic and belligerent jabs while vocals pour over like singeing wax. Shouting at this point, “Bloodsport, win or lose we bleed the same. In this game we play, bloodsport.” The sequel to the madness, “Bloodsport II” takes inspiration from its big brother and moves to outdo the older sibling in a manner of flashy moshing and spin kicks to the temple. Just taking the track in one go is a rush of charging tempers.
Most of PROTOCOL can be boiled down to becoming metal clanging against metal, an indestructible object that meets another indestructible object. Almost becoming impossible for the listener to gain ground to stand upon, Bloodsport as a record spends the entire 10 minutes submerging the audience in liquid nitrogen.
Frozen and unable to move, PROTOCOL treats the audience with the track “De-Militarized Zone” with reverbed shouts and vocal effects that collapse on the ears. Necks snap at the stomping circle pit nature and like a documentary in the style of Planet Earth, PROTOCOL descends on its prey.
The percussion is worthy to turn a spotlight onto for a moment as the consistent floor tom and drum rotation, in general, is specific to a war machine that gains momentum and just condemns the opposition. With a blitzkrieg, PROTOCOL burns through their fuel resources and would rather explode with everyone in the room taking the blast with them.
Each track another nail in that metaphorical coffin, each note being one step closer to demise. Like a funeral march with certain death at the end of the race; Bloodsport sprints headfirst into danger and miraculously, comes out broken and bruised but barely breathing, which is more than most can say.